Do I Need To Find An Obstruction Of Justice Attorney?
If you have been accused of obstruction of justice in California, then you will want to contact a crimes against justice lawyer at My Rights Law. without delay. My Rights Law is highly experienced in winning criminal cases. We will clarify your legal options and aggressively defend you. Put your case in the right hands by calling My Rights Law at (888) 702-8882 or fill out our secure web form for a free consultation.
Obstruction of justice is categorized as an “offense against public justice” in the California Penal Code. In general, crimes against public justice offend some aspects of the justice system itself. Just as contempt of court charges may be levied in the wake of disrespectful conduct aimed at a judge, obstruction of justice charges may result when someone tries to interfere with employment duties being carried out by employees of the justice system, including peace officers and public officers.
Elements Of An Obstruction Of Justice Offense
Obstruction of justice offenses are classified as misdemeanors, which is a lesser crime than a felony. However, the justice system tends to treat this category of misdemeanor charges seriously because they are crimes against public justice itself. As a result, it is important to treat any obstruction of justice charges that may be levied against you with the seriousness that they deserve. Working with an attorney to construct a solid defensive strategy related to the elements of these crimes is important in case any procedural objections that you may raise don’t hold up.
The basic elements of an obstruction of justice infraction are fairly straightforward. California law makes it a crime to willfully resist, delay, or otherwise obstruct a peace officer (police officer), public officer, or emergency medical professional from discharging any of their employment duties. For example, if a law enforcement officer is attempting to arrest someone and you purposefully get in their way, this could be considered obstruction of justice. Or, if a prosecutor is attempting to investigate a case and you purposefully provide them with misleading information in the hopes of slowing down their efforts, that could be considered obstruction of justice.
It is worth noting that there are highly specific elements of obstruction of justice infractions when they involve interference with a public safety radio frequency or taking a firearm from (or in the presence of) a peace officer or public officer.
Penalties For An Obstruction Of Justice Conviction
As a relatively serious misdemeanor, a conviction for obstruction of justice may result in a term of incarceration in a county jail that cannot exceed one year, a fine of no more than $1,000, or both. This punishment stands in contrast to standard misdemeanors prosecuted under California law, which are punishable by “only” six months or less in county jail, a fine of no more than $1,000, or both. This elevated degree of potential punishment illustrates that the justice system tends to treat obstruction of justice charges seriously. Other consequences of obstructing justice include a criminal record.
Legal Defenses To Obstruction Of Justice Charges
Interfering with the employment duties of a public officer or peace officer may be a protected activity if the approach one takes is consistent with the rights afforded under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. For example, while law enforcement officers may consider the video recording of an arrest to be interfering with their duties, if you’re not interfering with the arrest itself, such activity should be protected. An attorney skilled in this area of law can advise you as to which affirmative and procedural defensive strategies may be most appropriate given the unique circumstances of your case.
The broadest obstruction of justice section of the California Penal Code prohibits interference with the employment duties of a peace officer, public officer, or emergency personnel. However, this is not the only charge that may reasonably be classified as an obstruction of justice offense. Offering false physical evidence, destroying evidence, manufacturing false evidence or preparing false evidence, and witness tampering or intimidation may also be broadly classified as obstruction of justice offenses.
Some of these offenses are categorized as misdemeanors, while others are considered felonies. In either event, because they are crimes against justice, the justice system is almost certainly going to treat them seriously. It is, therefore, very important to connect with a skilled criminal defense attorney if you’ve been charged with any of these offenses.
Call My Rights Law at (888) 702-8882 today or contact us by completing our secure web form for a free, confidential consultation.
Other crimes against justice we defend include: Perjury