The prospect of facing criminal charges is difficult for anyone, but it can also be an incredibly confusing and complicated time. Obstruction of justice charges are difficult to understand and encompass a large number of possibilities. If you find yourself facing this uncomfortable situation, it is vital to contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately.
To begin, obstruction of justice is a vague term in Minnesota. Simply put, it means interfering with the legal process, firefighting efforts, or arrest efforts. Beyond this, obstructing justice also involves interfering with the jobs of investigators, prosecutors, regulatory agencies, and other various state or federal government officials.
Some of the most common behaviors resulting in obstruction of justice include:
- Falsely reporting a crime
- Witness tampering
- Resisting arrest
- Tampering with evidence
- Lying to a law enforcement officer
To put these terms in perspective, you may be charged with obstruction of justice if you warn another individual they are being investigated by the police or if you interfere with an officer trying to make an arrest. For instance, a recent obstruction of justice for a young lady occurred when she was out with friends. After a fight broke out at a bar, the police were called. While an officer was attempting to arrest one of the young lady’s friends, she began yelling at the officer that he was being too rough and that the person he was arresting had the right to defend himself. While her intentions may have been to protect her friend, she found herself sitting beside him in the back seat of a police car facing obstruction of justice charges. Any act that interferes with the legal process is eligible for obstruction of justice.
The severity of the punishment a defendant faces depends on the severity of the crime. The use of violence or force significantly impacts the possible penalties. For example, the resulting consequences for resisting arrest can include 90 days in jail and a fine up to $700. However for resisting arrest with force, the penalty is one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. A defendant facing felony obstruction with a risk of bodily harm or death faces five years in prison and over $10,000 in fines.
Besides these immediate consequences, those convicted of obstruction of justice face lifelong difficulties. A criminal record can have a significant impact on your life making it difficult to obtain a job, advance in your current employment, improve your living situation, and so much more.
If you find yourself facing obstruction of justice charges, your first step should always be to contact an attorney. Mounting an effective defense strategy is vital to having your charges dismissed or reduced. Contacting an attorney immediately ensures your rights are protected. It is important to always remember that you have a right to stay silent. Your right to stay silent is provided by the constitution and cannot result in obstruction of justice charges.
Contact our law office today for assistance in defending yourself against obstruction of justice charges. This is a serious criminal offense that should not be taken lightly. However, with a competent attorney by your side and a well thought out defense, you can move forward with your life. With a top notch education from Drake Law School and over 15 years of defense experience, Jennifer Speas understands the time and dedication it takes to defend her clients. Her commitment to justice and the legal system allows her to deliver the high quality, expert defense every defendant deserves. Ms. Speas understands that good people makes mistakes and she is devoted to fighting for your rights and limiting the disruption of your life.
Disclaimer: The content of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact Jennifer Speas to discuss the specifics of your case.