Planting Evidence Law & Defense
Information on the crime of planting evidence is found at California penal code section 141(a). The crime of planting evidence includes intentionally hiding, destroying, altering, and manufacturing false evidence.
141(a): It is a crime to knowingly, willfully, intentionally, and wrongfully alter, modify, plant, manufacture, conceal, any physical matter, digital image, or video recording, with specific intent that the action will result in a person being charged with a crime or with the specific intent that the physical matter will be wrongfully produced as genuine or true upon a trial, proceeding, or inquiry (Abbrev.).
Note: It is also a crime to move any material to a location that makes it difficult for a peace officer, witness, or district attorney to find (PC 141(a) Abbrev.).
PC 141(a) Planting, altering, or concealing evidence is charged as a misdemeanor. If found guilty of of PC 141(a), the defendant could face up to 180 days in the county jail.
PC 141(b) Peace officer planting evidence is charged as a felony. If a peace officer is found guilty of planting evidence he or she will face up to five years in state prison.
PC 141(c) A prosecuting attorney who intentionally modifies, withholds, or destroys exculpatory material may be charged with felony PC 141(c). If found guilty of PC 141(c), the defendant may face up to three years in jail.
Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is a period of supervision as opposed to a jail or prison sentence. A probation sentence is allowed in PC 141 cases, but it is not guaranteed (More likely in PC 141(a) misdemeanor cases). Probation sentences can include a work release or house arrest sentence as a condition of probation . Whether a probation sentence will be granted in any PC 141 case depends largely on the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history, if any.
PC 1170(h) Sentence: If a peace officer is found guilty of planting, altering, or destroying evidence, and he or she is not granted a probation sentenced, then that peace officer must serve his or her incarceration in a state prison (as opposed to a local county jail), and o part of that prison sentence may be split or suspended; however, if a district attorney is found guilty of essentially the same conduct, he or she may serve his or her incarceration in a local county jail, and part of that sentence may be split or suspended.
Conduct Credit: A defendant convicted of planting or destroying evidence may earn up to fifty percent off his or her work release, jail, or prison sentence by acting with good behavior while serving his or her sentence (day for day credit).
CIMT: Planting, concealing, modifying, or destroying evidence is likely a crime involving moral turpitude. A crime involving moral turpitude is a crime that involves deceit or is otherwise inherently immoral. Crimes involving moral turpitude carry collateral punishments with person who hold professional licenses (doctor, dentist, lawyer, etc.), and for persons who are not US citizens (deportation and denial of reentry into the US is possible).
Bail: ($5,000 for PC 141(a) & $25,000 for PC 141(b) & 141(c).
Note: Bail is the process of placing collateral with the court, usually through a bail agent, which is intended to ensure that the defendant will appear as ordered for criminal prosecution. Without bail, the defendant must stay in custody until the court process is completed. In some cases, the bail may be increased or decreased depending on the defendant's danger to the community, his or her risk of flight, and other factors. In fact, in some cases, the defendant may be released on his or her promise to appear for prosecution and without the need for bail (Own Recognizance Release).
In addition the penalties listed above, if found guilty of PC 141(a), 141(b), or 141(c), the defendant could face any of the following punishments: civil lawsuits, fines and court fees, restitution, denial of entry into the United States military), and more.
PC 141 Defenses
Common defenses to a charge of planting, withholding, or destroying evidence include: insufficient evidence, mistake of fact, statute of limitations, duress, jury nullification, and more.
If you have been arrested or charged with planting, withholding, or destroying evidence, contact out criminal defense lawyers today for a free consultation. Our criminal defense lawyers are here seven days a week to help you through the criminal law process and answer all of your questions. Call today!.
Quick Legal Reference
Crime: Planting, Altering, or Concealing Evidence
Code: PC 141(a) (CalCrim No. 2630)
Wobbler: No. PC 141(a) is not a wobbler. PC 141(a) is only filed as a misdemeanor.
Incarceration: PC 141(a) jail sentence up to 180 days.
Probation: Probation may be available in PC 141(a) cases (assuming that other crimes or enhancements that might bar a probation sentence are not present). Whether or not a probation sentence is offered by the District Attorney, or granted by the court, depends on several factors, including the defendant's criminal history and the facts of the case.
Work Release or House Arrest: In some cases, a probation sentence can include actual in-custody county jail, house arrest (electronic monitoring), or work release (or some combination of these penalties); however, most in-custody jail sentence orders that are required as a terms of probation are much shorter than the maximum jail sentence.
Strike: PC 141(a) is not a strike offense listed in California's Three Strikes law.
Credits: 50% good conduct credits available.
CIMT: PC 141(a) is likely a crime involving moral turpitude, which means that an arrest or conviction could lead to the following:
Professional Licensing problems
Impeachment on credibility
Bail: $5,000 (San Bernardino County)
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