Intimidating A Witness PC 136.1 (Penal Code 136.1)
Crime: Intimidating a Witness
Code Section: Penal Code 136.1 (click here to view the statute)
Related CALCRIM: 2622, 2623
PC 136.1 Brief Summary:
Penal Code 136.1 criminalize situations where a person tries to intimidate, prevent, or dissuade a victim or witness from reporting a crime or testifying about a crime. Penal Code 136.1 is commonly charged in domestic violence cases, where one person tries to then prevent the other person from calling the cops or reporting a crime. Penal Code 1361.1 applies when a person prevents or tries to prevent, dissuade, or intimidate a crime victim from reporting a crime, or testify in court, or cooperating with law enforcement so as to avoid being arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime. Penal Code 136.1 can be charged as either a felony or as a misdemeanor depending on the facts of the case and the defendant’s criminal history.
PC 136.1 Elements:
To prove someone guilty of this crime, the government must prove:
- The defendant maliciously tried to prevent or discourage a witness or crime victim from giving testimony, or reporting a crime;
- When the defendant acted, he knew he was trying to prevent or discourage the victim or witness.
PC 136.1 Punishment:
The punishment for a felony violation of Penal Code 136.1(a) or (b) is 16 months, two years, or three years in state prison. Penal Code 136.1(a) or (b) can also be charged as a misdemeanor with a maximum exposure of up to a year in county jail. In some situations where a person used violence or threats of violence to intimidate a witness or victim, a felony strike offense can be charged under Penal Code 136.1(c). The maximum felony exposure under Penal Code 136.1(c) is two, three, or four years in state prison. In cases where a person has not been sentenced to prison, probation can be granted for any conviction under Penal Code 136.1. Other fines, fees, and possible probation terms could be applied. In some felony cases, Penal Code 136.1 is a “strike” offense, meaning that a conviction can be used against you in the future to drastically increase your maximum exposure and potentially make you eligible for life in prison if you were convicted of a qualifying offense after having been previously convicted of two other prior strikes. “Strike” offenses can also be used against you in other ways.
PC 136.1 Lesser Included Offenses:
A lesser included offense is one that contains all of the elements of the charged offense, but for which the consequences are less severe. Typically, a conviction for a lesser included offense only occurs when there is no conviction for the more serious offense. An attempt is often times a lesser included offense to a charged offense and occurs when the defendant intended and tried to commit the charged offense, but for whatever reason, was unable to finish committing that crime. For Penal Code 136.1, there are no lesser included offenses because the Penal Code 136.1 itself also criminalizes attempts the same as successfully intimidating a witness.
PC 136.1 Related Charges:
- Penal Code 236-False Imprisonment
- Penal Code 242-Battery
- Penal Code 243(e)(1)-Domestic Battery
- Penal Code 245(a)(4)-Assault Likely to Produce GBI
- Penal Code 273.5(a)-Domestic Violence
- Penal Code 422-Criminal Threat
- Penal Code 417-Brandishing a Weapon
Charged with a violent crime?