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Why Would Someone Get Charged with Tampering in a Drug Case?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

June 30, 2020

In Florida, substances like marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine are considered illegal drugs. If a person has any of these, or others listed on the state’s schedule of controlled substances, they may be charged with a drug crime.

Depending on the actions the person took when law enforcement officials attempted to apprehend them for alleged drug possession, they could also be accused of committing another crime referred to as tampering with evidence.

What Is Tampering with Evidence?

Under Florida Statute 918.13, tampering with evidence occurs when someone corrupts and object or document to hinder a criminal investigation. The law applies whether criminal proceedings are pending or are already underway.

The law states that any of the following to a document, report, or other object is considered tampering:

  • Altering,
  • Destroying,
  • Concealing, or
  • Removing

A charge for this offense is also possible when the person creates something and presents it as evidence, knowing it is a fake.

How Can Someone Get Charged with Tampering?

Being charged with a crime can lead to serious consequences, such as jail time and/or fines. Thus, in some cases, when a person is being investigated or pursued by law enforcement officials, they may engage in conduct they believe would prevent them from being apprehended for the crime they’re suspected of committing. Such actions might include destroying evidence that might connect them to the alleged offense.

For instance, suppose Ron scheduled a meeting with Greg to buy marijuana. The two meet at a motel to do the exchange. Before the transaction is complete, law enforcement officials knock on the door.

With his panic responses kicking in and fearing a marijuana possession charge, Ron rushes to the restroom and flushes the substance down the toilet. Because he had drugs for sale and he destroyed them to prevent police from finding them, Ron can be charged with possession of marijuana as well as tampering with evidence.

Of course, flushing a controlled substance down a toilet to avoid prosecution is just one way a person may be charged with tampering in a drug case. Several other scenarios and actions can also be considered offenses under Florida law.

Is Tampering with Evidence a Felony?

In Florida, tampering with evidence is a third-degree felony. Anyone convicted of this offense can face harsh penalties, including up to 5 years of imprisonment and/or up to $5,000 in fines.

Are you facing criminal charges in Miami? Contact Hager & Schwartz, P.A. at (305) 330-1360 for the aggressive defense you need.