NRS 199.210: Tampering with Evidence or Offering False Evidence
NRS 199.210 is a Nevada statute that makes it illegal to offer false evidence or tamper with evidence in the state. It prohibits anyone from knowingly presenting false evidence or altering, destroying, concealing, or tampering with physical evidence in any judicial proceeding.
Violation of this law can result in criminal penalties including jail time and fines. In addition to criminal penalties, violating NRS 199.210 can have serious collateral consequences such as damaging one’s reputation and making it difficult to find employment in certain fields.
Fortunately, there are several defenses available for those accused of violating offering false evidence as well as options for sealing records associated with an arrest under this statute if the charges were dismissed or reduced.
Overview of NRS 199.210
NRS 199.210 reads:
A person who, upon any trial, hearing, inquiry, investigation or other proceeding authorized by law, offers or procures to be offered in evidence, as genuine, any book, paper, document, record or other instrument in writing, knowing the same to have been forged or fraudulently altered, is guilty of a category D felony.
Under this statute, offering false evidence, or tampering with evidence, has three elements. The defendant:
- Presents evidence in a trial, hearing, inquiry, investigation or other proceeding authorized by law;
- Know that the evidence is false or has been forged or fraudulently altered; and
- Offer the evidence as genuine.
If you noticed, the evidence referred to in the statute covers a wide range of things, from books and papers to other instruments in writing. This includes digital or electronic records as well.
It also doesn’t matter if the defendant was the one who actually did the tampering, e.g. made edits to a contract via Photoshop. Just knowingly offering false evidence to undermine a legal proceeding is illegal and in violation of this statute.
This criminal offense is closely related to NRS 199.220 —which is the statute about destroying evidence.
Examples of Tampering with Evidence
Examples of tampering with evidence or offering false evidence include:
- Altering, destroying, or concealing documents to prevent the truth from becoming known in a court case;
- Testifying falsely under oath about material facts; and
- Making false statements to the police.
Here are a few examples:
- Attorney John Smith was getting frustrated he isn’t getting anywhere with his case, so he decides to adjust the witness testimony presented in court to make it more favorable for his client. This is a violation of NRS 199.210 and could land him in legal hot water.
- Jane Doe was accused of stealing from her employer and she tried to offer false evidence in court by presenting a forged invoice to hide her tracks.
Impact on Trials
Tampering with evidence or offering false evidence can have a serious and far-reaching impact on trials and legal proceedings. It not only undermines the integrity of the justice system but can also have devastating consequences for all parties involved. When false evidence is presented, it can not only damage the credibility of the witness, but it can also mislead the jury and lead to an unjust verdict.
Furthermore, the repercussions extend beyond the courtroom. In the investigative stage, presenting false evidence can taint the entire process, potentially resulting in wrongful convictions or other grave outcomes. The importance of preserving the truth and upholding the principles of justice cannot be overstated.
The implications of tampering with evidence or offering false evidence, as defined by NRS 199.210, reach far beyond an individual case. In the larger context of legal proceedings, these actions constitute an affront to the very foundations of the justice system.
The legal process is predicated on the principles of truth, fairness, and impartiality. When false evidence is introduced into this ecosystem, it creates an imbalance that can distort the course of justice. It impedes the courts’ ability to make fair judgments, as these are based on the presumption that all evidence presented is genuine and untampered with.
In essence, introducing false evidence is not just a violation of legal procedure but an assault on the rule of law itself. It undermines public trust in the judicial system, casting aspersions on its ability to deliver justice. This erosion of confidence can have far-reaching societal implications, cultivating cynicism and potentially fostering a culture of lawlessness.
Consequently, the gravity of this crime is reflected in the penalties meted out — imprisonment, fines, and the tarnishing of one’s reputation. These stringent punishments underscore the seriousness with which such transgressions are viewed within the legal system, and society at large, and serve as a stark deterrent to others.
Penalties for Offering False Evidence
Offering false evidence in violation of NRS 199.210 is a felony offense in Nevada. If convicted, the defendant can face up to four years in prison and/or fines of up to $5,000.
- Category D Felony
- 1-4 years in jail
- Up to $5,000 in fines
Defenses to Violations of NRS 199.210
There are several potential defenses to violations of this statute that can help a defendant beat the charges or get them reduced. These include:
- Lack of knowledge: The defendant didn’t know that the evidence was false. The person is only guilty if he/she knew that the document was false.
- Evidence was legitimate / not false: The evidence was real and/or not tampered with in any way.
- Lack of intent: The defendant didn’t intend to tamper with evidence. For example, if you routinely delete emails as part of your job and deleted an email relevant to a case without realizing it, this is likely not intentional tampering with evidence.
These are just some of the potential defenses available. An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate all the facts in your case and determine the best course of action for your defense.
Record Sealing Options
If you are charged with violating NRS 199.210 and the charges are dismissed or reduced, you may be eligible to have your criminal record sealed in Nevada. Sealing your record will help protect your reputation as employers and other organizations conducting background checks won’t see it.
However, if you were convicted of offering false evidence, which is a category D felony, you may petition for a record seal five years after the case ends.
Tampering with evidence is closely related to several other crimes. Forgery, destroying evidence, perjury, and obstruction of justice are four of the most common types of offenses that involve altering or falsifying evidence.
Forgery is an offense in which a person makes or alters a document or other type of instrument with intent to deceive or defraud. This includes creating false documents, including contracts, wills, bank statements, government documents such as passports and licenses, and even digital records.
Destroying evidence is an illegal act that involves the destruction of physical and digital documents, records, and other items that may be relevant to a legal proceeding. It can involve tearing up paper documents, deleting emails or other digital files, shredding materials, burning objects, or otherwise making evidence unavailable. The goal usually involves preventing the truth from becoming known in court or to law enforcement.
Perjury is another related crime that involves providing false statements under oath. Generally speaking, perjury occurs when a witness lies about material facts during testimony given in court proceedings.
Finally, obstructing justice may also be part of a case involving evidence tampering or offering false evidence. This involves any type of behavior designed to impede the investigation or prosecution of a criminal case.
Charged with a Crime?
Contact an experienced criminal defense attorneys like The Defenders to discuss your case and find out what we can do for you.
Anyone facing prosecution for presenting false evidence should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in order to review their rights and options under the law.
The Defenders can help you craft an effective defense strategy tailored to your individual case needs as well as advise you on how best to proceed given their specific set of facts and circumstances.
We will fight hard to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire process and work to get the charges reduced or dismissed. Contact us for a free case evaluation today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is offering false evidence / tampering with evidence mean?
Offering false evidence or tampering with evidence means to knowingly offer something as evidence that is either false or has been altered in some way. This includes changing or altering documents, attempting to introduce a forged document as real, and making false statements under oath.
What are the penalties for offering false evidence in Nevada?
Violations of NRS 199.210 are considered Category D felonies in Nevada, punishable by up to four years in prison and/or fines of up to $5,000.
Can I get my record sealed after a conviction for NRS 199.210?
If you are convicted of violating NRS 199.210, you may petition for a record seal five years after the case ends. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options for record sealing.
Is tampering with evidence a felony in Nevada?
Yes, offering false evidence in violation of NRS 199.210 is a category D felony offense and can result in up to four years in prison and/or fines of up to $5,000.
What are examples of tampering with evidence?
Examples of evidence tampering include changing or altering documents, attempting to introduce a forged document as real, and making false statements under oath. These are all violations of NRS 199.210. It is important to note that even if the act was done unintentionally, it still constitutes tampering with evidence. Additionally, destroying physical and digital documents relevant to a legal proceeding can also be considered tampering with evidence.
What is the potential jail time for tampering with evidence?
Tampering with evidence in Nevada, categorized under NRS 199.210, is a serious offense classified as a category D felony. If convicted, this could result in severe penalties including imprisonment. The potential jail time for this crime is up to four years, reflecting the serious nature of this violation. However, the exact sentencing can vary depending on the specifics of the case and the individual’s previous criminal history.
Is withholding evidence a crime?
The act of withholding evidence is not a crime in and of itself. However, depending on the specifics of the case, it can be considered obstruction of justice when it hinders or attempts to hinder an investigation or criminal proceeding. Additionally, if you intentionally withhold information that could help exonerate the accused, this could be considered tampering with evidence and would lead to serious consequences. It is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are uncertain about how your actions or evidence may be viewed by the court.