Intimidating, Threatening, and Interfering with Witnesses Defense Attorneys in Michigan
Michigan law provides strict penalties for anyone who intimidates, threatens, or interferes with a person’s testimony in any official proceeding as a witness. Anyone accused of interfering in a criminal or civil case may face harsh consequences and needs help immediately.
What is witness intimidation, threatening, and interfering?
A person would be guilty of intimidation, threats, or interference with a witness if he gives, offers to give or promises anything of value to encourage or discourage the witness from attending or testifying in a court hearing, testifying in a particular way, or avoiding legal process. Also, a person shall not do any of these things by threat or intimidation.
Penalties for Witness Intimidation and Interference
Michigan law provides for the possibility of severe punishment for intimidating or threatening a witness. A first offense carries a maximum 4-year prison term, five years of court-supervised probation, and a $5,000.00 fine.
If intimidation or interference allegedly occurs in a serious criminal case, one punishable by more than 10 years, the person may be guilty of a 10-year felony, with a fine of up to $20,000.00, and up to 5 years of probation. If the violation involves a threat to kill or injure any person or to cause property damage, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years, a fine of $25,000.00, and up to plus 5 years of probation.
Retaliation Against a Witness is a Serious Felony
In addition to threatening and intimidating a witness to keep them from testifying, the law also punishes after-the-fact actions, meaning retaliation. Retaliation is harming someone for testifying, and it is considered by prosecutors and judges to be just as serious as trying to prevent or influence testimony. Any person who commits a crime against a person because he or she was a witness is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Witness intimidation is considered so serious that if a defendant is found guilty of trying to interfere with a witness in his case, the defendant’s sentence for the interference offense may be consecutive to any other sentence imposed. Consecutive means one sentence doesn’t start until the other sentence is completed.
False Claims of Witness Intimidation
It would be very easy for someone to claim that someone threatened them to stay away from court or refuse to testify truthfully. For example, a domestic violence victim may lie about the defendant trying to scare or intimidate her so that she does not testify. Intimidation or threatening a witness is a serious allegation and would subject the defendant to a possible felony charge. For example, if there is a pending divorce, an added felony charge could be the leverage the victim needs to steal away custody of children.
Because it is easy for a witness to allege a threat falsely, the risk of a wrongful charge based on false evidence is high. Defendants charged with witness intimidation are treated as the enemy of the court, and most lawyers may be too intimidated to mount a strong defense. Everyone just assumes the defendant is guilty. The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will not be intimidated, and they have an unparalleled track record of success defending clients charged with serious felony offenses. We are not afraid to win!
Defenses to Witness Intimidation Charges
With a talented and experienced lawyer, there are many potential viable defenses, and this is the type of lawyer the defendant needs most. A fearless retained attorney will attack the case and do everything possible to dismantle a false claim of witness intimidation. A top-rated retained attorney will not be made to feel guilty for attacking the client’s accuser, and he or she will do everything they can to get the charges dismissed and have the case thrown out of court.
An astute defense attorney is always on the lookout for a motive that a complainant may have to harm the client by making false allegations. Possible motives for false allegations may include money, strategic leverage in a legal case, and personal hatred. It is the job of a savvy defense attorney to find such motives and make sure the judge, prosecutor, and potentially a jury know of the improper motives. In cases where a lesser attorney may attempt to pressure a client to “cop a plea” and quickly close out a case, a truly dedicated retained attorney will do just the opposite. A great defense attorney will work relentlessly to pressure the prosecutor to see that the case is unjust and should be dismissed.
Michigan law states that a defendant is innocent if he can prove that his actions were legal and were actually intended to encourage truthful testimony. This legal defense is vague and leaves plenty of room for an intelligent, experienced attorney to craft a winning defense.
Premier Defense Attorneys for Witness Intimidation, Threatening, and Interfering
The highly experienced and skilled attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. will leave no stone unturned in defense of our clients. Even if the odds seem completely stacked against you, we will find a way to help you. If you find yourself charged with witness interference, call the firm that will have your back and never give up fighting for you.
The Defense Team with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges, including Witness Intimidation and Interference, in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Michigan. We have a well-deserved reputation for providing the highest caliber defense and aggressive representation while showing care and personal attention for each client.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.