Obstruction of Justice
Obstruction of justice is a crime against justice itself. Many actions may be considered obstruction of justice in Florida. Chapter 843 of the Florida Statutes lists several specific acts. Over twenty more examples of obstruction crimes are found in the United States Code, as this may be a state or federal offense depending on the circumstances of the case. Generally, these crimes involve acts intended to manipulate the justice system to work in favor of a defendant.
If you have been accused of obstruction of justice, you must take the accusations seriously. A person charged with obstructing justice faces a hostile criminal justice system. Prosecutors usually seek the maximum possible punishment, while judges may exhibit little to no sympathy for those believed to have interfered with the justice system. Anyone accused of this crime should have full confidence in his or her legal defense team.
Common Obstruction of Justice Scenarios
Obstruction of justice is a broad term which covers hundreds of actions that work against the administration of justice. A person obstructs justice whenever he or she attempts to influence the natural order of a criminal investigation. There are many ways this can happen. Below are a few of the most common methods people employ to obstruct justice in West Palm Beach:
Resisting an Officer
An offender who knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes the efforts of law enforcement or other legally authorized individual or entity to execute legal processes is guilty of a criminal offense. One who resists an officer by threatening to use violence or by using violence toward the officer commits a third-degree felony offense. One who resists without using or threatening violence commits a first-degree misdemeanor crime.
A charge of resistance often accompanies other charges. If you’ve been charged with resisting an on-duty police officer, there are techniques your attorney can use to have the charge dismissed.
Helping a Suspect Escape
Any person who knowingly aids or attempts to aid a person escape, attempt to escape, or who has escaped from an officer commits a third-degree felony under Florida Statute §843.12. It’s important to work with an attorney to evaluate the evidence against you; there may be ways to have a charge of aiding a criminal suspect dismissed.
Compounding a Felony
Compounding a felony can occur one of two ways: A victim may accept a bribe for his decision to avoid prosecuting the crime. A prosecutor may also accept a bribe for agreeing not to prosecute or reveal a felony committed by another. Compounding a felony is a third-degree felony offense under Florida Statute §843.14. Any felony offense deserves quality legal representation.
Intimidating Witnesses of a Crime
Interfering with a witness’s testimony or cooperation with law enforcement is a crime. A person obstructs justice when he or she intimidates a witness to try to get the witness to lie to police or in court, make specific claims under oath, or have the witness avoid testifying or cooperating with authorities.
There are different ways a person may intimidate or interfere with a witness’s role in a criminal investigation:
- Asking a witness to avoid reporting a crime, talking to police, or testifying
- Offering a witness a bribe
- Threatening a witness with physical violence or by damaging their property
- Threatening a witness’s family members or friends
- Preventing a witness from attending court proceedings
Other Examples of Obstruction of Justice
Obstructing justice crimes in West Palm Beach commonly involve bribery, evidence tampering, and other acts that interfere with police work. These crimes also include crimes committed by judges, prosecutors, and elected officials that corrupt the criminal justice system. The prosecution must only prove that an attempt to manipulate justice took place to show that a person obstructed justice. No proof of actual obstruction is needed for an obstruction of justice case to result in a conviction. Most obstruction of justice cases are felony cases that may lead to severe penalties upon conviction. Do not hesitate to secure reputable legal counsel right away.
West Palm Beach Obstruction of Justice Attorney
Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has defended those accused of criminal offenses, including obstruction of justice at the state and federal level, for more than 25 years. He works tirelessly to protect his clients by investigating all the facts of the case and has years of experience negotiating with prosecutors. As a Top 100 Lawyer with The National Trial Lawyers, he can bring a unique perspective to your case. Contact Brian Gabriel for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn all your legal options. Call 561-622-5575 or contact us online.