In Massachusetts, Witness Intimidation is usually charged in domestic violence cases. It is a felony. Massachusetts General Law c 268 § 13b defines witness intimidation in Ma. Penalties include jail, a fine, probation, a felony conviction as well as other consequences.
What is Witness Intimidation in MA?
For witness intimidation in Ma, the prosecutor must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt. They are:
- First: the defendant willfully, either directly or indirectly:
- threatened, or attempted to, or did cause physical injury, emotional injury, economic injury, property damage, or gave a gift, offer, or promise of anything of value to, or misled or intimidated or harassed another person.
- Second: The other person was:
- A witness or potential witness or;
- Someone who was aware of information, records, documents, or objects related to a violation of a statute, or other court proceeding or;
- A person who is or was attending or who made known an intention to attend a criminal or civil proceeding of any type or;
- One who is or was aware of information, records, documents or objects that relate to a violation of a court order or;
- A family member of a person described in his section.
- Third: That the defendant did so with the specific intent to either impede, obstruct, delay, prevent or otherwise interfere with a criminal investigation or criminal proceeding of any type.
How can the Prosecutor Prove Witness Intimidation?
There are two ways to convict someone of witness intimidation in MA. First is intentional domestic assault and battery. That is where the person specifically intended to impede, obstruct, prevent or interfere with a criminal investigation at any stage. A person’s state of mind is important in deciding if someone specifically intended to intimidate a witness. Juries consider a person’s words, actions and circumstances at the time in determining whether they are guilty or not.
Another way a person may be guilty of witness intimidation in MA is by their reckless conduct. It is not enough that a person acted negligently, the way a reasonable person would act, they must recklessly. Recklessly is acting in a way that they would or should know the consequences of their actions. Even if the defendant did not intend to intimidate any witness, they may still be guilty if they acted recklessly.
A prosecutor does not need to show there was any crime or investigation to prove witness intimidation. In order to convict someone for witness intimidation regarding an investigation, the district attorney needs to prove that a possible criminal violation occurred that would lead to an investigation. This is when a person takes a phone away preventing a 911 call.
Experience Domestic Violence Attorney
Massachusetts Criminal Attorney Patrick Donovan has successfully fought many witness intimidation charges for people in Quincy, Boston and throughout Massachusetts. Attorney Donovan is a former prosecutor who has appeared in over fifty criminal courts in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Criminal Attorney Donovan offers free consultations. And, his office is located in Quincy. It is close to route 93.
Attorney Donovan offers both evening and weekend consultations and will meet at places convenient to the client. Please call attorney Patrick Donovan at (617) 479-1800 for your free consultations.