Intimidating a victim

According to the Department of Justice, the key difference between witness intimidation and other crimes is that the perpetrator has the intent "to discourage the victim from reporting a crime to police or cooperating with prosecutors." Intimidating a witness requires the offender to have the specific intent to coerce the witness or victim not to testify or report.

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Consider this: A particularly scary mugger would not be charged with intimidating a witness merely for making the victim apprehensive of reporting the crime; the mugger would need to have the intent to dissuade his victim from reporting the crime.

If you feel you have been intimidated or otherwise coerced into not reporting or testifying to a crime, you may consider reporting a crime anonymously or seeking protection from the police.

Narrowing Down Intimidation Witness intimidation doesn't necessarily need to be accompanied by force; victims of witness intimidation have been harassed on Facebook by culprits using threatening words about "rats" and testifying.

There are also many crimes which have the effect of intimidating someone from testifying (e.g., repeat domestic violence offenses), but these acts are not necessarily criminal witness intimidation.

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