After being charged with a crime, you are likely to be confused, upset and uncertain about your future. These feelings are understandable, but are not likely to help if you try to change or get rid of evidence that may incriminate you. This is called evidence tampering, and it carries serious consequences in North Dakota.

What are some of the different ways to tamper with evidence? According to the North Dakota Legislative Counsel, you could be prosecuted if you try to hide, change or destroy potential evidence. This can occur either before or during a legal proceeding, such as a trial or the period before a warrant is issued for an arrest. For example, you might burn or bury clothing that had blood on it after an assault. If you went back to the scene of a robbery and tried to remove your fingerprints, that would also be considered evidence tampering. It could also be tampering if you swallowed evidence that might connect you to a crime.

You would need to knowingly tamper with potential evidence with the purpose of interfering with your alleged role in a crime, in order for it to be held against you. Is there a way that you might not be considered guilty of evidence tampering? If you got rid of evidence that your employer was involved in illegal business dealings, without knowing what he or she was up to, you might not be held accountable.

Depending on the severity of the alleged evidence tampering, it could be a class A misdemeanor or a class C felony in North Dakota, both of which could increase the penalties against you. This information is not meant to serve as legal advice, but rather to inform you on this area of law.