We are all warned from the time we are children that we need to listen to the police. However, there are times when an individual doesn’t listen or they may engage in an action that is perceived as obstruction of justice. You have probably seen someone deal with the consequences of resisting arrest or not complying with the demands of a peace officer.
Obstruction of justice can occur in a number of ways. Those ways include:
- Fleeing a police officer – Fleeing while in a motor vehicle or attempting to flee an officer. This is because enforcement of the law is being interfered with.
- Escape – Escape after being arrested or allowing another to escape, such as from a hospital or passing a person off to another with the purpose of allowing them to escape.
- Witness tampering – Threatening a witness in a criminal trial in exchange for a testimony that is anything but the truth.
- Interfering with a dead body – Touching or moving a body, taking evidence from a body, or interfering in any other way that could contaminate evidence.
- Warning a suspect of a police investigation – If a person is warned that they are being investigated by the police, the person doing the warning is interfering with an investigation. This could result in justice not being served and that can put public safety at risk.
- Falsely reporting a crime – Reporting a crime that did not exist ties up resources and costs money, making it a crime.
Even though a person can be guilty of obstruction of justice, there are ways to provide a strategic defense that can reduce the consequences. If obstruction did not occur, then it can be proven that it didn’t so that the charges can be dismissed and you can go on with your life.
The obstruction of justice penalties vary based upon the type of obstruction offense that has been created. Resisting arrest has a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a $700 fine, resisting arrest with force has a penalty of up to 1 year in jail and a $3,000 fine, obstruction of justice with the risk of bodily harm or death has a penalty of up to 5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.