This sounds like a lofty criminsal offense committed by those with power and influence, but obstruction of justice has a relatively simple definition: preventing police and the court of law from bringing guilty parties to just punishment by intervening to prevent the discovery of evidence or involved parties. Writing letters, making verbal requests to derail investigations, and influencing a jury can all be manipulation or prevention of expected legal processes that are intended to produce a fair result.
Obstruction is certainly not a new topic in the national news, from Watergate to Clinton, to the highly publicized potential case of obstruction in the White House that flooded news outlets in the summer of 2017. However, obstruction has real life applications that can include purposefully providing police with information on false leads or tampering with evidence that clearly determines a guilty party.
For the average person, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where interfering with the proceedings of the police or court is worthwhile, especially as these systems are in place to bring the guilty to justice. But for family and friends of the accused, obstruction is a charge you can fall into while attempting to clear the name of a loved one or prevent them from facing jail time. This can include lying to a police officer while being interviewed or giving testimony, visiting a witness and attempting to dissuade them from giving testimony in court, or physically barring police’s entry into a home where evidence of a crime may be present.
As with any criminal charge, there are levels of severity for obstruction. If you’re a passenger in a car that was pulled over for DUI, and you attempt to throw out evidence of drugs or alcohol while the police are otherwise occupied, you may be charged with misdemeanor obstruction.
Felony obstruction can include more complex instances of hampering the legal and investigative process, whether you helped to dispose of a weapon in a
murder case, knowingly provided inaccurate information to police, or created fake evidence to steer authorities away from investigating the guilty party.
Obstruction is a serious crime, regardless of whether your attempts to mislead police were committed with the intent to protect an innocent family member. Courts take this crime seriously and do not look favorably upon those attempting to prevent the course of justice. For all of these reasons, it’s essential to work with the right legal defense.
Archambault Law is home to a Smithfield veteran criminal defense lawyer, Stephen Archambault, who works aggressively on the side of his clients to have obstruction charges dismissed or reduced. If you have questions about legal defense for obstruction of justice, contact our firm today.