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Destroying or Concealing Evidence Laws (PC 135) in California

PC 135: Destroying or Concealing Evidence

Legal Definition: A person who is experienced, holds expertise, and possesses authority in the matter, understands that any book, paper, record, instrument in writing, digital image, video recording owned by another, or other matter or thing, is about to be presented as evidence during a trial, inquiry, or investigation authorized by law. This person intentionally destroys, erases, or conceals the same, with the clear intent to prevent it or its content from being produced. Violations of PC 135 require the prosecution to demonstrate the following elements to convict: 1. Knowledge that a book, paper, record, instrument in writing, or other matter is going to be presented as evidence during a trial, inquiry, or investigation; AND 2. Willful destruction or concealment of said item with the explicit intention of preventing it from being introduced as evidence.

What does this mean?

When individuals find themselves in difficult circumstances, be it their own or someone else’s, it can lead to precarious situations. These predicaments may involve criminal charges and the potential for incarceration. In times of desperation, people may act impulsively, disregarding the consequences of their actions. Here, we are confronted with the notion that certain evidence, which could potentially benefit you or someone you know, is on the brink of destruction. However, it is crucial to recognize that tampering with evidence constitutes a crime. The fundamental principle of the Justice System is that the truth shall prevail. Concealing essential evidence impedes the pursuit of truth, hindering justice from being served.


Destroying or concealing evidence is a misdemeanor offense only. If you are to be found guilty under this section, you could be sentenced to up to 180 days in County Jail. You would be required to serve 50% of that sentence. In some PC 135 cases, you may be able to avoid jail entirely and instead serve an alternative sentence. Alternative sentences include work release, which is commonly known as Community Service, or electronic monitoring, also known as House Arrest. PC 135 is not a strike offense under the Three Strike Laws. It is also not considered a crime of moral turpitude. However, people with professional licenses or who are in the United States on a temporary basis face extra scrutiny under this section. The reason for that extra level of scrutiny is based on the offense itself. The offense involves obvious deception, as the means of gaining some advantageous situation in a Trial. An Immigration Court, for example, may look down upon a person who is trying to earn legal status within the Country. A judge may also be more skeptical of any evidence you may present as being potentially false, based on a conviction under this section. Biases exist in all walks of life, and a Judge in Immigration Court, or someone overseeing an Administrative Hearing for your Professional Licenses, will likely carry that bias too. There are also additional issues that come with a conviction here, such as fines and fees, possible civil liability from your actions, and much harsher probation terms.

Common Defenses

  1. Statute of Limitations
  2. Insufficient Evidence
  3. Mistake of Fact

When facing a violation of PC 135, it is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all defense. Every case is unique and requires a comprehensive understanding of the circumstances. However, a commonly utilized defense is insufficient evidence to establish guilt. Insufficient evidence implies that the district attorney fails to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, your awareness of the evidence’s intended use in a trial or that the object in question can be unmistakably considered evidence. Demonstrating the absence of intent to destroy evidence is crucial to support this defense. It is crucial to highlight innocent scenarios where evidence is inadvertently destroyed or lost. Additionally, instances where evidence is provided to you without proper instructions or disclosure of its nature cannot be held against you, as lacking the intended intent to commit the offense of PC 135. Rest assured that with our experienced expertise in such matters, you can trust in our commitment to deliver a strong and reliable defense.

Call Today

Navigating a criminal case extends beyond the immediate concern of potential incarceration; it encompasses the broader implications on one’s future employment, professional licensing, and immigration status within the U.S. Recognizing the multifaceted impact of criminal charges, Inland Empire Criminal Defense brings to the table a team of expert criminal defense attorneys renowned for their defense prowess, particularly in cases involving misdemeanor charges under PC 135.

Our commitment to our clients is reflected not only in our stellar track record of successfully defending against misdemeanor charges but also in our approach to legal representation. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and are available 24/7 to answer any questions and address concerns, ensuring you are never without guidance.

Why Choose Inland Empire Criminal Defense for PC 135 Charges?

  • Expert Legal Representation: Our attorneys specialize in criminal defense, with a focus on misdemeanor charges, ensuring your case benefits from knowledgeable and strategic legal counsel.
  • Stellar Track Record: The success of our defense strategies in past cases underscores our ability to navigate the complexities of the legal system and achieve favorable outcomes for our clients.
  • Comprehensive Support: Understanding the anxiety and uncertainty that accompany criminal charges, we prioritize accessibility and support, providing peace of mind throughout the legal process.

Ensure Your Future with Inland Empire Criminal Defense

The consequences of a criminal case can reverberate through every aspect of your life, making it imperative to secure experienced and effective legal representation. Inland Empire Criminal Defense, based in Ontario, CA, is prepared to offer the specialized legal support necessary to protect your rights, your future employment, your professional licenses, and your immigration status.

Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense Today

If you’re facing misdemeanor charges under PC 135, don’t let the potential consequences dictate your future. Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126 for a complimentary initial consultation. Our expert team is dedicated to providing the defense and support you need, ensuring you have the best possible chance of navigating your criminal case successfully. Let us help safeguard your future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Does the attorney offer confidential consultations?

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Does the attorney offer payment plans?

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Is the consultation free?

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Are the consultations in person or only over the phone?

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Is the office open on weekends?

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Does the attorney serve all of California?

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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