Obstruction Of Justice
Criminal obstruction of justice happens any time a person attempts to obstruct, interfere with or otherwise impede an official investigation or prosecution. If your actions interfere with or impede a case, you could be facing an obstruction of justice charge. Depending upon the unique circumstances of your individual case, you could be facing misdemeanor or felony obstruction charges. In some cases, you could be looking at up to five years in a federal correctional facility or longer, and that’s on top of any other charges you may be facing. If you or a loved one is facing obstruction of justice charges, you need to get with a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case.
Interfering With an Investigation
Since obstruction of justice can happen in a variety of different public and private sectors, it’s important to understand what does and does not count as obstruction. Basically, when a person knowingly interferes in any way with an official investigation or the prosecution of a crime, he or she could be facing obstruction of justice charges. Listed below are some of the more common forms of obstruction of justice.
Types of Obstruction of Justice
- Destroying evidence
- Warning a friend or coworker that they are under investigation
- Aiding a suspect
- Lying to authorities
- Tampering with evidence
Destroying or Tampering With Evidence
Destroying or tampering with any kind of evidence is one of the more obvious and blatant forms of obstruction. In criminal cases especially, tampering with evidence can be an egregious and serious offense. Because the evidence associated with a case has a direct impact on whether or not a suspect is convicted, any handling, tampering or destroying of evidence can be viewed as obstructing justice.
Aiding and Abetting Suspect
Aiding and abetting a suspect can also get you slapped with an obstruction of justice charge. If you help, provide shelter or money to somebody who is under criminal investigation or suspicion, you could land in hot water. Hiding a loved one who is on the lam is obstructing justice. In some cases, simply tipping somebody off about a subpoena or investigation can be enough to get you charged with obstruction. Helping them to destroy or tamper with evidence or providing resources for them to leave town are all types of obstruction. If you’re interfering with the government’s ability to prosecute a crime, you’re likely going to face criminal charges of obstruction of justice yourself.
Lying to Authorities
In addition to what could potentially be perjury, lying to investigators, whether in questioning or under oath can be considered obstruction of justice, especially if your lies impede or interfere with the investigation in any way. While it’s easy to get that deer-in-the-headlights feeling during an interrogation, it’s important to remember that any untruthful written or verbal answers could get you slapped with an obstruction of justice charge. This is why it’s so important to have a lawyer on your side immediately. When in doubt, don’t answer any questions and wait for your lawyer.
Since witness testimony often has a huge impact on criminal cases, it’s also essential to understand that any tampering or threatening of witnesses can be perceived as obstruction of justice. Attempting to interfere with a witness’s testimony is a good way to get additional charges thrown your way. Threats, bribes, coercions or any other type of persuasive measures can all be considered forms of obstruction.
You Have The Right to Remain Silent
In any dealings with law enforcement officers, whether local, county, state or federal, always remember that you have the right to remain silent. Exercise it. If you’re under suspicion, arrested or being questioned in any way, do not lie to your interrogators. Simply and respectfully exercise your right against self-incrimination. Ask for your lawyer, and wait patiently to answer any questions that investigators or other law enforcement officials may have. It could keep you out of jail.
When to Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer
After any kind of arrest or criminal charge, it’s important to speak with an experienced and proven criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The sooner you speak with a lawyer, the better chance you have at a favorable outcome in your case. Obstruction of justice is a serious charge and can add years to your sentence, if convicted.
If you or a loved one is facing obstruction of justice charges in or around the Jackson Metro Area, contact the skilled team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate case consultation.
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