2020 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 10 - Offenses Against Public Administration
Article 5 - Offenses Related to Judicial and Other Proceedings
§ 16-10-93. Influencing Witnesses

Universal Citation: GA Code § 16-10-93 (2020)
  1. A person who, with intent to deter a witness from testifying freely, fully, and truthfully to any matter pending in any court, in any administrative proceeding, or before a grand jury, communicates, directly or indirectly, to such witness any threat of injury or damage to the person, property, or employment of the witness or to the person, property, or employment of any relative or associate of the witness or who offers or delivers any benefit, reward, or consideration to such witness or to a relative or associate of the witness shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.
    1. It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to use intimidation, physical force, or threats; to persuade another person by means of corruption or to attempt to do so; or to engage in misleading conduct toward another person with intent to:
      1. Influence, delay, or prevent the testimony of any person in an official proceeding;
      2. Cause or induce any person to:
        1. Withhold testimony or a record, document, or other object from an official proceeding;
        2. Alter, destroy, mutilate, or conceal an object with intent to impair the object's integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding;
        3. Evade legal process summoning that person to appear as a witness or to produce a record, document, or other object in an official proceeding; or
        4. Be absent from an official proceeding to which such person has been summoned by legal process; or
      3. Hinder, delay, or prevent the communication to a law enforcement officer, prosecuting attorney, or judge of this state of information relating to the commission or possible commission of a criminal offense or a violation of conditions of probation, parole, or release pending judicial proceedings.
    2. Any person convicted of a violation of this subsection shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than ten years or by a fine of not less than $10,000.00 nor more than $20,000.00, or both.
      1. For the purposes of this Code section, the term "official proceeding" means any hearing or trial conducted by a court of this state or its political subdivisions, a grand jury, or an agency of the executive, legislative, or judicial branches of government of this state or its political subdivisions or authorities.
      2. An official proceeding need not be pending or about to be instituted at the time of any offense defined in this subsection.
      3. The testimony, record, document, or other object which is prevented or impeded or attempted to be prevented or impeded in an official proceeding in violation of this Code section need not be admissible in evidence or free of a claim of privilege.
      4. In a prosecution for an offense under this Code section, no state of mind need be proved with respect to the circumstance:
        1. That the official proceeding before a judge, court, magistrate, grand jury, or government agency is before a judge or court of this state, a magistrate, a grand jury, or an agency of state or local government; or
        2. That the judge is a judge of this state or its political subdivisions or that the law enforcement officer is an officer or employee of the State of Georgia or a political subdivision or authority of the state or a person authorized to act for or on behalf of the State of Georgia or a political subdivision or authority of the state.
      5. A prosecution under this Code section may be brought in the county in which the official proceeding, whether or not pending or about to be instituted, was intended to be affected or in the county in which the conduct constituting the alleged offense occurred.
  2. Any crime committed in violation of subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section shall be considered a separate offense.

(Ga. L. 1959, p. 34, § 24; Code 1933, § 26-2313, enacted by Ga. L. 1975, p. 34, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 316, § 1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 270, § 5.)

Law reviews.

- For review of 1998 legislation relating to crimes and offenses, see 15 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 80 (1998).


Warning as to consequences of perjury.

- Party's warning to a witness that if the witness knowingly made false statements under oath, the witness could be prosecuted for perjury, did not constitute an attempt to illegally influence a witness. Hodges v. Tomberlin, 170 Ga. App. 842, 319 S.E.2d 11 (1984).

Admission of indictment for other offenses.

- In a prosecution for influencing witnesses and criminal trespass, a copy of an indictment in another case charging defendant with aggravated child molestation of witnesses was admissible. Thomas v. State, 227 Ga. App. 469, 489 S.E.2d 561 (1997).

No abuse of discretion in refusing to sever charges.

- Trial court did not abuse the court's discretion by refusing to sever the defendant's drug charges from the defendant's trial on a charge of influencing a witness because evidence of either crime would have been admissible at the trial of the other and the charged offenses were neither so numerous nor so complex that the jury was unable to parse the evidence and correctly apply the law with regard to each charge. Perry v. State, 317 Ga. App. 885, 733 S.E.2d 57 (2012).

Special demurrer properly granted as term "intimidation" generic.

- Trial court properly granted a defendant's special demurrer as to one count of a two count indictment charging the defendant with influencing a witness as the use of the term "intimidation," without specifying the way the defendant allegedly did so, was generic and did not adequately inform the defendant of the facts constituting the offense. State v. Delaby, 298 Ga. App. 723, 681 S.E.2d 645 (2009).

Evidence of intent sufficient.

- Because the state presented evidence that a defendant confronted a witness behind an apartment complex and telephoned the witness on another occasion at a time when criminal charges were pending against a codefendant, the defendant acted with the requisite criminal intent to deter the witness from properly testifying against the codefendant, in violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-10-93(a). Johnson v. State, 277 Ga. App. 499, 627 S.E.2d 116 (2006).

State's alleged coercion of victim.

- Because the defendant failed to present any evidence that the state ever threatened the victim into testifying against the defendant, and the defendant failed to acknowledge that the victim's statement to police would have been tendered into evidence regardless of what version of events were recounted on the stand, the appeals court rejected the defendant's claim that the state's coercion of the victim warranted reversal of a simple assault conviction. Wheeler v. State, 281 Ga. App. 158, 635 S.E.2d 415 (2006).

There was sufficient evidence to support defendant's conviction for use of intimidation with the intent of influencing a witness to change the witness's testimony in an official proceeding because the evidence established that, at the time in question, the defendant's relative was allowing the witness to reside on certain property free of charge and that the defendant stated that the witness would be removed from the house if the witness refused the defendant's demand not to go to court to testify against the defendant. Shelnutt v. State, 289 Ga. App. 528, 657 S.E.2d 611 (2008), cert. denied, No. S08C0977, 2008 Ga. LEXIS 518 (Ga. 2008).

Evidence sufficient to support conviction.

- Trial court did not err in finding that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of influencing a witness because the state presented sufficient evidence that the defendant acted with the requisite criminal intent to deter the victim from testifying and that the defendant directly communicated a threat to the victim; pursuant to former O.C.G.A. § 24-4-8 (see now O.C.G.A. § 24-14-8), the trial court was entitled to rely on the victim's testimony that the defendant threatened to kill the victim if the victim testified against the defendant. Futch v. State, 316 Ga. App. 376, 730 S.E.2d 14 (2012).

As the jury was authorized to infer from the evidence, including the defendant's menacing actions toward a witness and a threat to tell law enforcement that the witness was engaged in criminal activity, that the defendant acted with the requisite intent to intimidate the witness so that the witness would not testify against the defendant at trial, the evidence was sufficient to support the defendant's conviction for influencing a witness. Burke v. State, 333 Ga. App. 738, 776 S.E.2d 821 (2015).

Threatening to file lawsuit not within ambit of statute.

- Defendant was improperly convicted of influencing witnesses in violation of O.C.G.A. § 16-10-93(a) because the mere threat of potential monetary damage and public humiliation were inextricably intertwined with the defendant's threat of a lawsuit, which was not a per se threat to person nor to property; threatening to (ostensibly) exercise one's legitimate right to file a lawsuit is not encompassed by this statute. DeLong v. State, 310 Ga. App. 518, 714 S.E.2d 98 (2011).

Threat of lawsuit insufficient.

- Georgia Court of Appeals concludes that actually exercising one's right to file a lawsuit, conspiring with others to file a lawsuit, in and of itself, does not constitute a threat as required to support the crimes under O.C.G.A. §§ 16-10-93(a),16-10-93(b)(1)(A),16-10-32(b)(1), or16-10-32(b)(4). Brown v. State, 322 Ga. App. 446, 745 S.E.2d 699 (2013).

Trial court erred by denying the defendant's demurrer to two counts in a second indictment, which charged the defendant with the offense of influencing witnesses under O.C.G.A. § 16-10-93(a) with the intent to influence, delay, or prevent the witnesses' testimony in an official proceeding because actually exercising one's right to file a lawsuit, which was alleged in the case, did not constitute a threat as required to support the crimes under § 16-10-93(a). Brown v. State, 322 Ga. App. 446, 745 S.E.2d 699 (2013).

Cited in Morgan v. State, 240 Ga. 845, 242 S.E.2d 611 (1978); Gonzalez v. State, 175 Ga. App. 84, 332 S.E.2d 904 (1985); Griffin v. State, 204 Ga. App. 270, 419 S.E.2d 115 (1992); Carter v. State, 237 Ga. App. 703, 516 S.E.2d 556 (1999); Markowitz v. Wieland, 243 Ga. App. 151, 532 S.E.2d 705 (2000); Draper v. Reynolds, 278 Ga. App. 401, 629 S.E.2d 476 (2006); Hargett v. State, 285 Ga. 82, 674 S.E.2d 261 (2009), overruled on other grounds by State v. Lane, 308 Ga. 10, 838 S.E.2d 808 (2020); Murray v. State, 297 Ga. App. 571, 677 S.E.2d 745 (2009); In the Matter of Farmer, 307 Ga. 307, 835 S.E.2d 629 (2019).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 12 Am. Jur. 2d, Bribery, § 4. 17 Am. Jur. 2d, Contempt, § 81 et seq. 58 Am. Jur. 2d, Obstructing Justice, § 37 et seq.


- 11 C.J.S., Bribery, § 9. 67 C.J.S., Obstructing Justice or Governmental Administration, § 31 et seq.


- Procuring or attempting to procure witness to leave jurisdiction as contempt, 33 A.L.R. 607.

Falsity of contemplated testimony as condition of offense of bribery of, attempt to bribe, or acceptance of bribe or gift by, prospective witness, 110 A.L.R. 582.

Procuring perjury as contempt, 29 A.L.R.2d 1157.

Recovery of money paid, or property transferred, as a bribe, 60 A.L.R.2d 1273.

Admissibility in criminal case, on issue of defendant's guilt, of evidence that third person has attempted to influence a witness not to testify or to testify falsely, 79 A.L.R.3d 1156.

Validity, construction, and application of state statutes imposing criminal penalties for influencing, intimidating, or tampering with witness, 8 A.L.R.4th 769.

Admonitions against perjury or threats to prosecute potential defense witness, inducing refusal to testify, as prejudicial error, 88 A.L.R.4th 388.

Validity, construction, and application of federal witness tampering statute, 18 U.S.C.A. § 1512(b), 183 A.L.R. Fed. 611.

Construction and application of federal witness tampering statute, § 18 U.S.C.A. 1512(b), 185 A.L.R. Fed. 1

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