In Colorado, attempting to influence the decisions of a witness or victim is a criminal offense. Witness tampering is a class 4 felony. Penalties for witness tampering include up to 6 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
In this article, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers will address:
- 1. What is witness tampering?
- 2. Who are considered to be witnesses?
- 3. What are the penalties for witness tampering?
- 4. Related Offenses
1. What is witness tampering?
Witness tampering involves attempting to influence a witness or victim, or anyone who may be called to testify as a witness or victim. This includes influencing the witness or victim to:
- Testify falsely;
- Unlawfully withhold any testimony;
- Be absent from an official proceeding; or
- Avoid legal process summoning him or her to testify.
Witness tampering is different than bribing a witness or intimidating a witness. Intimidating a witness involves threats of property damage or violence. Bribing a witness involves offering money or anything of benefit to influence a witness. If an individual attempts to induce a witness or victim without threats or bribery, they may guilty of witness tampering.1
2. Who are considered to be witnesses?
Under C.R.S. 18-8-707, tampering is a criminal violation against a victim or a witness to a crime. A “victim” is any person against whom any crime has been perpetrated or attempted.2
A “witness” is any person who:
- Has knowledge of facts relating to a crime;
- Has made a declaration under oath for evidence;
- Reported any crime to a police officer, correctional officer, or judicial officer;
- Has been served a subpoena by the court; or
- Who would be reasonably believed to be any of the above.3
3. What are the penalties for witness tampering?
Tampering with a witness or victim is a class 4 felony in Colorado.4 The minimum penalty for a class 4 felony conviction for tampering with a witness is 2 years in prison and a fine of $2,000. The maximum penalty for tampering with a witness or victim is 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. In addition, there is a mandatory parole period of 3 years.
4. Related Offenses
4.1. Bribing a Witness C.R.S. 18-8-703
In Colorado, offering money or another benefit to a witness or victim of a crime to influence their decisions is bribing a witness. Bribing a witness is a felony. The penalties for bribery of a witness or victim includes up to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
4.2. Intimidating a Witness C.R.S. 18-8-704
In Colorado, making threats against a witness or victim of a crime in order to influence their decisions is a criminal offense. Intimidating a witness is a felony, with increased felonies if the witness is intimidated by the use of a deadly weapon. See our related article on aggravated intimidation of a witness or victim (CRS 18-8-705).
4.3. Retaliation Against a Witness C.R.S. 18-8-706
Retaliation against a witness or victim involves retaliating against a victim or witness through harassment or using threats of harm, injury or property damage. Retaliation against a witness is a class 3 felony, with penalties including 4 to 12 years in prison and up to $750,000 in fines.
4.4. Bribing a Juror C.R.S. 18-8-606
Bribing a juror involves offering or agreeing to offer money or any other benefit to a juror to influence the juror’s vote or opinion. Bribing a juror is a class 4 felony, with penalties including 2 to 6 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.
Call us for help…
If you have been accused of witness tampering, please contact us at Colorado Legal Defense Group.
Also see our general article on tampering laws in Colorado.
- C.R.S. 18-8-707
- C.R.S. 18-8-702(1)
- C.R.S. 18-8-702(2)
- C.R.S. 18-8-707(2)