Obstruction of justice is the interference with a criminal proceeding or investigation and can result in state or federal charges. Penalties could include a fine and/or imprisonment. The severity of the punishment typically depends on whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony.
Obstruction of Justice Examples
The following are examples in which an individual may face obstruction of justice charges:
- disguising oneself;
- destroying or altering evidence;
- interfering with witnesses;
- attempting to influence a judge or jury;
- lying when being questioned by law enforcement; and
- providing false information.
Defenses Used to Avoid Obstruction of Justice Charges
Avoiding these types of charges may be possible. For instance, it could be that any information provided relevant to a proceeding was done so with the belief that it was true. In other words, there wasn’t a blatant attempt to lie – the statement(s) was based on what the person thought was true.
Another defense could be that the person misunderstood the question that was being asked. There may have been a misinterpretation of the question or the wording used was confusing.
If a statement was given based on a mistaken conclusion or carelessness, this may also help avoid charges. So if the person truly believed what was stated, even though it was false, it may be defensible.
It may be that any tampering with evidence was done without knowledge that it could be useful as proof. Or the evidence obtained by law enforcement may have occurred without justification or reasonable cause.
Under some circumstances, the accused may have given false information due to threats or intimidation. Or it may be that the person wasn’t in the right state of mind at the time; for instance, the person was intoxicated.
Contacting an Attorney When Faced with Obstruction of Justice Charges
Facing these charges is a serious matter. Even if a person is innocent, this doesn’t mean charges will be dropped. Unintended mistakes can still land a person in jail, so the accused should seek legal counsel as soon as possible to ensure his or her rights are protected.
The consequences of these charges could be life-altering. So don’t delay contacting an attorney from The Law Offices of Robert David Malove. We can ensure that defendants are informed of not only their legal rights, but also defense options that may be available.