What is my liability if accidentally lost evidence ina criminalcase?

I witnessed and got a small domestic dispute between a friend and his girlfriend and caught it on video. I showed the police when they arrived; they did not confiscate the video. A separate friend who had nothing to do with the issue accidentally deleted it. I have been summoned to court to show the video. I am a minor and only 15 (16 when the court date arrives) and I wanted to know if I will get in trouble for anything such as tampering with evidence?

Asked on September 13, 2010 under Criminal Law, North Carolina


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Go and speak with your parents on the matter and have them go with you to see an attorney in your area.  You need to be counseled on the matter in your home state.  The actual term is "tampering" with evidence and can be a very serious matter, carrying with it jail time.  Why it happened is not as important as the fact that it did happen.  In other words, it is a difficult charge to defend. But it can also be difficult to prosecute, which is good for you.  Why the Police did not confiscate the video in the first place is unknown but they left it in your possession for safekeeping and you are a minor.  At any rate, you need to make sure that all your rights are protected now.  Good luck. 

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