Obstruction of Justice, Witness Tampering, and Offenses relating to Governmental Operations involve individuals being accused of impairing or interfering with a police officer or government official’s duties. The charges can be heard as a misdemeanor or felony and involve serious consequences.
Crimes that fall into Obstruction of Justice crimes include:
Obstruction of Proceedings
8 U.S. Code § 1505 states that obstuction of proceedings is committed when any of the following actions are taken under the intention of impeding, obstucting, or influencing the legal administration of the law:
- Avoiding, evading, preventing, or obstructing compliance with a civil investigation under the Antitrust Civil Process Act;
- Withholding, misrepresenting, removing, concealing, covering up, or destroying any documents or testimony; and
- Threatening by force, or influencing with a letter or any form of communication.
Perjury – Willfully Lying Under Oath
18 U.S. Code § 1621 states that perjury is committed when a person knowingly states something under oath that the individual knows to be false and incorrect. Perjury is often charged as an accessory crime to obstruction of justice and is treated as a serious felony.
Impeding – Injuring – Intimidation of Court Officials
18 U.S. Code § 1503 states a person commits obstruction of justice when they threaten or use force to impede, influence, or intimidate any of the following:
- Grand Juror
- Officer of any U.S. court
This law is designed to prevent officers and court officials from being influenced or coerced by a defendant in the execution of their sworn duties. It prohibits the any injury or threat of physical violence against these defined persons; and further states that if such actions are committed, the defendant will be punished more harshly than if a similar crime that did not have the purpose of influencing a criminal trial.
Common Obstruction of Justice Charges Include:
- Intimidating a witness
- Tampering with a witness
- Tampering with physical evidence
- Obstructing government operations
- Obstructing a Peace Officer, Fire Fighter or Police Officer
- False Reporting to Authorities
- Impersonating a Peace or Police Officer
- Duty to Report a Crime, i.e., counselor or doctor
- Escape or Assisting in an Escape
- Embezzlement of Public Property
- Theft of Public Property
- False Swearing
- Jury Tampering
These charges can be heard as Class 3 Misdemeanors and, if you are convicted, you may face a potential six month jail sentence. If charged as a felony, you may face a potential lengthy prison sentence. Other penalties could include probation, public service, and severe fines.
If you are contacted and investigated by the police on possible obstruction of justice charges, the best way to protect yourself is to say nothing. You have the right to refuse to speak to the police.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for obstruction of justice or witness tampering offenses, it is important to obtain legal representation immediately. Call Mike Moran at 719-447-1923 for your free consultation.