Obstruction of Justice is one of those legal terms that sometimes seems to be more intimidating than it actually is. It does carry with it serious penalties if not properly handled, but with an experienced defense attorney, can be clearly argued to give you the best chance at success possible. Here’s what you need to know about this charge, and how it can affect you if convicted.
Basic Definition: Obstruction of justice is found to have been happened when a person intentionally prevents, impairs, or hinders the law or government function from being administered. This includes keeping a public servant from doing their official work by running away, acting violently, acting to intimidate or using other force. Resisting arrest is a common type of way this law is violated, as is giving a fake name or identity to police officers, or refusing entry to law enforcement in the active work of addressing crime.
Proving the Crime: For the prosecution to successfully charge an individual with obstruction of justice, they will need to prove that the obstruction was done consciously, successfully, and with the knowledge that your actions would prevent the public officer from doing their legal job.
Exceptions to the Rule: As with anything, there are some exceptions to obstruction of justice law. For the case where an individual barred police officers entry to their residence citing privacy rights, this would be within their right provided the officer did not possess a search warrant, which trumps those rights. However, if officials are found to have been acting unlawfully but in good faith, you can still be found guilty for obstructing justice. There are a number of gray areas in this domain, which means it’s critical to work with an experienced attorney who fully understands the ins and outs of these laws.
Associated Penalties: If you’re found guilty of obstruction of justice, you’ll be faced with a disorderly persons charge that can carry with it up to six months in jail, an initial $125 for a safe neighborhood assessment penalty, and a VCCB assessment. The charge will also give you a criminal record, and possible loss of driving privileges, as well as court costs and probation. This is not a charge to take lightly.
Your Best Option: In moving to handle an obstruction of justice charge, it’s vitally important that you work with an attorney who is both versed in the area of disorderly persons law, as well as has the experience you need to tackle your individual case. I have extensively represented clients in this and many other areas, and would be happy to provide you with a free phone consultation about my services. Call me, David C. Barry at 732-238-8686 today.