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Is it Illegal to Speak with a Witness During a Criminal Case?

Is it Illegal to Speak with a Witness During a Criminal Case?

During a criminal trial, the prosecutor might call forward witnesses to strengthen their case against the defendant. For a number of reasons, the person accused of committing the offense might try to prevent the individual from speaking at court. In Nevada, taking such action with the intent to persuade the outcome of a case could result in criminal charges.

Defining the Offense

Under Nevada Revised Statutes 199.230, it is illegal to attempt to dissuade a witness from appearing at and testifying during the trial.

The two elements that make up this offense include:

  • Using persuasion, force, threat, intimidation, or deception against the potential witness; and
  • Employing such tactics with the intent to obstruct justice

Therefore, it is unlawful for the defendant to speak with a witness during a criminal trial. A person could be charged and convicted whether or not their actions had an effect on the outcome of the case.

Speaking with a witness during any part of the trial or for any reason could be detrimental to the defendant. Although they might be trying to have a pleasant conversation with the individual, such interactions could possibly turn into false allegations of dissuading a witness. They might have been apprehensive about testifying in the first place and could claim the defendant tried to stop them from appearing.

Challenging Allegations

Defenses for dissuading a person from testifying exist. A lawyer could argue that their client did not intend to prevent the witness from appearing in court or that the defendant is a victim of false accusations. As in other criminal proceedings, the prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant violated each element of the offense.

Potential Conviction Penalties

Preventing or dissuading a person from testifying could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. If the individual allegedly spoke with the witness, they committed a gross misdemeanor. However, they could be facing a category D felony if the prosecutor claims that they used or threatened to use physical force to keep an individual from appearing at court.

Schedule a Free Consultation with The Draskovich Law Group

If you were accused of dissuading a witness, get our skilled attorneys on your side as soon as possible. In our over 25 years of combined experience, we have handled various criminal cases in Las Vegas, including drug crimes, sex crimes, and violent crimes, and we know how to navigate complicated legal processes.

For award-winning defense, call us at (702) 381-6590 or contact us online.

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