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Destroying or Concealing Evidence Law & Defense

California Penal Code 135

The law on the crime of destroying or concealing evidence is found at Califonia Penal Code section 135.

The law of PC 135

Every person, who, knowing that any book, paper, record, instrument in writing, or other matter or thing, is about to be produced in evidence upon any trial, inquiry, or investigation whatever authoirzed by law, willfully destroys or conceals the same, with itent therby to prevent it from being produced, is guilty of a misdemenaor. [PC 135]

To be found guilty of destroying or concealing evidence pursuant to PC 135 the district attorney will need to prove:

  • That the defendant knew that a book, paper, record, instrument in writing, or other matter, was to be produced in evidence upon any trial, inquiry, or investigation, and
  • The defendant willfully destroyed or concealed the same, with the intent to prevent it from being produced.

Penalties & Sentence PC 135

The crime of destroying or concealing evidence is charged as a misdemeanor. If found guilty of PC 135 the defendant could face up to 180 days in the county jail as a sentence; however probation sentences are common in misdemeanor crimes. 

In some PC 135 cases, the defendant may be allowed to serve an alternative sentence (alternative to jail). Alternative sentences include work release or electronic monitoring.

In addition to any jail sentence, a conviction of PC 135 could lead to other penalties, such as: fines, harsh probation terms, restitution, civil lawsuits, immigration consequences (PC 135 is a moral turpitude crime), negative professional licensing consequences, and more.  

Defenses to Destroying or Concealing Evidence

There is no single defense that fits best to a PC 135 charge. In perhaps most cases, the defense of insufficient evidence to prove guilt is used.

Insufficient evidence simply means that the district attorney is not able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew the evidence was going to be used in a trial, or that the thing that is considered evidence was not clearly evidence to the defendant. Finally, the DA might not be able to prove that the defenant intentionally destroyed the evidence.

Other common defenses include, mistake of fact, statute of limitations, and coerced confessions.

To learn more about destroying or concealing evidence, or PC 135, contact our criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation. We are dedicated criminal defense attorneys with successful outcomes. Our office is open everyday, 24hrs a day. Call today!


PC 135 Related Crimes, Include:

  • PC 134 Preparing false documentary evidence
  • PC 133 Deceiving witness to affect testimony
  • PC 132 Offering forged documents, ante-dated book, or altered documents, as genuine
  • PC 135.5 Alter evidence regaring public safety officer proceedings

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Destroying or Concealing Documentary Evidence

California Penal Code section 135

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PC 135: Destroying or Concealing Evidence

  • Accessory
  • Animal Cruelty
  • Arson
  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Burglary
  • Conspiracy
  • Criminal Threat
  • Concealing Evidence
  • Domestic Battery
  • DUI
  • DUI w/injury
  • Elder Theft
  • Evading Police
  • Hit and Run
  • Identity Theft
  • Kidnapping
  • Lewd Acts
  • Manslaughter
  • Murder
  • Perjury
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Shoplifting
  • Stalking
  • Vandalism
  • Vehicle Theft
  • Welfare Fraud

Destroying or Concealing Evidence Law & Defense / California Penal Code 135


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