Obstruction of Justice Charges in California
Arrested In San Diego For Obstruction Of Justice?
Sometimes, when prosecutors fail to successfully convict an individual of a particular crime, they will charge that person with obstruction of justice. Obstruction of justice is interference in the proper operation of a court – or officers of a court – through words or actions, and is a crime under both federal and state laws.
Prosecutors may charge an individual with obstruction if they suspect that he is withholding information vital to continuing an investigation. Since the state legal system is set up to provide law enforcement with the ability to carry out their functions with minimal interference, you can face arrest and prosecution if you are perceived to be interfering with the operation of the law.
The consequences of a criminal conviction are always severe, but the potential penalties are significantly increased for obstruction of justice if the defendant interfered with communication or removed a weapon from an officer. Section 148 of the California Penal Code makes it a crime to willfully “resist, delay or obstruct” a police officer or an emergency medical technician in the performance of his work – including making an arrest or keeping the peace.
It’s illegal to disrupt an officer while he is traveling to the scene of a crime, interviewing people while investigating a crime, or monitoring a suspect who is in custody. This includes intentionally and maliciously interrupting or impeding transmission via a public safety radio frequency. If convicted, you could face fines of up to $1,000 and be sentenced to county jail for up to one year.
You can be prosecuted for obstructing justice in California if you:
- Lie to a police officer during an investigation
- Provide a law enforcement officer with misleading information
- Try to prevent your own arrest or the arrest of someone else
- Attempt to bar the free passage of a law enforcement officer
- Offer or create false evidence in court proceedings
- Destroy or attempt to conceal material evidence
- Dissuade a witness or otherwise prevent them from testifying
- Bribe law enforcement officers, judges, lawyers, jurors, or witnesses involved in a case
Preparing Or Offering False Evidence
According to California Penal Code Sections 132 and 134, it’s a crime to knowingly provide false written evidence during any sort of legal proceeding and/or prepare false evidence with the intent of using it in a legal proceeding. Both of these offenses are considered an obstruction of justice, resulting in severe legal penalties if you’re convicted. Creating or providing false evidence is a felony offense in California, which can result in a sentence of up to three years in state prison.
Concealing or Destroying Evidence
According to California Penal Code Section 135, it’s a crime to knowingly conceal or destroy material evidence that is relevant to a court case or legal investigation. Many people assume this is only relevant in criminal cases, but you can still be charged with obstruction of justice if you knowingly conceal or destroy evidence relevant to non-criminal court proceedings, as well.
Preventing The Testimony Of A Witness
According to California Penal Code Section 136.1, it’s a crime to knowingly prevent a witness or victim from reporting a crime or testifying in court. This could include making direct threats against the witness and/or members of their family, or offering them compensation in exchange for their silence. This offense may be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Legal Defenses To Obstruction Of Justice Charges
When being investigated for obstruction of justice, it’s crucial that you do not talk with police, investigators, or anyone else without first speaking with a capable criminal defense attorney. There are several defenses against an obstruction of justice charge, and your San Diego obstruction of justice attorney can closely examine the evidence to discover the most effective strategy.
One issue that frequently arises is whether or not the police officer violated your Constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure. Aggressive representation by the Law Office of Gregory Garrison can result in having this charge reduced or dropped.
Contact Us Today For A Free Initial Consultation
If you’re facing prosecution for obstruction of justice, you need representation by the knowledgeable criminal defense team at the Law Office of Gregory Garrison. We won’t hesitate to take your case to trial in order to protect your rights and your freedom.
We will fight tirelessly to disprove the evidence in your case. Contact one of San Diego criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Gregory Garrison for a free initial consultation, to discover how to prepare your case against charges of obstruction of justice.