If I’m Under Criminal Investigation Can I Destroy my Laptop? NJ Criminal Defense Attorneys Warn You About Tampering with Evidence.

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

If you are under criminal investigation, you might be wondering what your rights are with regard to your property which may be searched as part of the investigation. For example, if you believe evidence on your laptop may be critical to the investigation, you may be inclined to destroy the laptop or make its contents disappear before a search warrant can be produced. While this seems like a feasible idea, you are actually committing another crime in doing so. Tampering with evidence is a serious offense in the state and Federal Courts of New Jersey. It is the crime of altering, destroying, or concealing physical evidence with the intent to affect the outcome of a criminal investigation or court proceeding.

How do you know if you are tampering with evidence? You are doing so when you knowingly alter, conceal, falsify or destroy any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to interfere with an investigation, possible investigation, or other proceeding by the federal government. (18 U.S.C. § 1519.)

In the case of the laptop, you are destroying evidence out of fear of a future investigation, intending to hide your crime, and therefore are tampering with evidence. The U.S. government and the state of New Jersey take tampering with evidence seriously. If you are convicted of a crime under federal law and tamper with evidence you can potentially face a prison sentence of less than or equal to 20 years or a fine or both (18 U.S.C. § 1519.).

As the potential penalty indicates, it is worthwhile to consult a NJ State and Federal Criminal Defense lawyer if you are under investigation for a crime or are charged with tampering with evidence. The NJ Criminal Defense Attorneys of Schwartz & Posnock are experienced in this area. The attorneys have handled criminal matters throughout the State and Federal Courts of New Jersey, for over thirty years. We have a proven track record of excellent results for our clients. Please contact us in any one of our convenient locations, including our Monmouth County office, located in Eatontown (at the Jersey Shore), our Essex County office, located in Livingston, our Union County office, located in Linden, or our Middlesex County office, located in East Brunswick, to discuss your case. You may call the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Schwartz & Posnock at 732-544-1460 or email us at info@schwartzposnock.com.

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