Destroying or Concealing Evidence


The ability to present evidence is a vital component to any court proceeding because it is the basis on which an individual will be found guilty of a crime or who wins in a civil suit. If you are involved in any form of legal battle, there is no doubt that you will do what is necessary to be successful, but if you destroy or conceal evidence, you could face criminal charges. The law seeks to prohibit this act because it seriously undermines the legal system and its ability to deliver justice.

To get rid of or hide evidence can be done with “good” intentions, but it is not tolerated and if found guilty, the consequences can be life altering. If you find yourself being investigated for or you are charged with San Diego destroying evidence charges, it is in your best interest to seek the services of a San Diego crimes against the police lawyer.

Why Was I Arrested?

Under California Penal Code 135 PC, it is illegal to knowingly and willfully destroy or conceal any form of evidence that is to be used in a trial or government investigation. The type of evidence is not only limited to tangible items but includes digital files and videos.

A critical element of the crime is that the evidence that is destroyed or concealed is to be part of a legal proceeding. This will include:

  • A criminal trial
  • Parole hearing
  • Civil trial
  • Police investigation
  • Criminal investigation

The law is very specific on the act and intention that will make out the offense of destroying or concealing evidence. Having a lawyer who can explain the legal technicalities to you will be important to understand why you were arrested and how to proceed with your San Diego destroying evidence charges.

Can I Go To Jail?

While the act of destroying or concealing evidence can have a significant impact on a legal proceeding, the offense is a misdemeanor in California Law. If you are not able to successfully defend your San Diego destroying evidence charges, potential penalties at sentencing will include up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. The judge will also be vested with the discretion of imposing probation in lieu of time behind bars.

There are a number of factors taken into consideration by the court in making a final determination in sentencing. The specifics of the crime, which will be different for each case and the criminal history of the person convicted are all valid considerations when how much jail time if any will be imposed.

What Is My Defense?

Even with the most damaging evidence against you, by law, you are still considered innocent until proven otherwise. It is important to keep calm when charged and arrested and only take advice from a competent criminal defense lawyer. Defending your case will start from the moment of arrest as further investigation and legal research can result in a charge reduction or even dismissal.

To prove your innocence, the law allows a number of defenses that can be used at trial. While it is up to the prosecution to prove that you are guilty, you may also opt to present a defense inclusive of any of the following:

  • The required criminal intent is not present. To prove your guilt, the prosecution must put forward evidence to show that you know and willfully destroyed or concealed evidence. The absence of this vital element of the crime is a sound defense in law.
  • There is a mistake of fact. Your intent must also include that you knew the evidence was to be used in a legal proceeding.
  • False accusation. You might be the victim of misunderstanding or malicious intent on the part of another.

With a qualified attorney and a sound defense, you can beat the San Diego destroying evidence charges against you.

At McElfresh Law, we are giants in the area of criminal defense litigation. Our attorneys are equipped with years of experience and an in-depth knowledge of the law and the criminal judicial system. Take back your life and let us help you fight your destroying evidence charges.

Call us today at (858) 756-7107 for a free and confidential consultation.