Does Simple Refusal To Snitch Count As Obstruction Of Justice?
The term “obstruction of justice” refers to a wide variety of actions, as well as some instances of lack of action. You can be charged with obstruction of justice if you attempt to interfere with any aspect of the criminal process, from the initial arrest all the way to the trial. Furthermore, not only can obstruction of justice charges apply if you attempt to interfere with your own case, but also if you interfere with someone else’s case or with a pending investigation that has yet to result in the state formally filing charges against anyone. As with any criminal charge, you have the right to due process of law if you are accused of obstruction of justice. The best way to be acquitted of obstruction of justice charges or to get the charges dismissed is to contact a West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer.
Since When Is It a Crime to Mind Your Own Business?
Obstruction of justice can occur at any stage of the process of investigating or prosecution an alleged crime. For example, the following actions that occur during an interaction with police leading up to or immediately after an arrest can result in obstruction charges:
- Lying to a police officer
- Assaulting or physically resisting a police officer
- Fleeing from police on foot or in a vehicle
Likewise, obstruction charges can apply if you try to prevent the prosecutor from gathering evidence that could strengthen its case against you or another defendant. Therefore, you can be charged with obstruction if you lie to police during questioning or if you lie on the witness stand; the latter action is the criminal offense known as perjury.
Destroying evidence also qualifies as obstruction of justice. The charge can apply if you throw a piece of evidence in the trash, even if it is only in your home trash can, to be picked up on the regular garbage pickup route that goes through your neighborhood. It also applies if you take more extreme measures such as burning or flushing the evidence or abandoning it in a faraway location where police are unlikely to find it. The charges are even more serious if you try to intimidate witnesses out of testifying or try to bribe them to make false statements. If you go to trial, you can also be charged with obstruction of justice if you try to influence jurors’ votes through bribes or intimidation.
In some cases, failure to report a crime can count as obstruction of justice. If you are worried that talking to police about someone else’s alleged criminal activities could lead to you being charged with a crime, you should seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney.
Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Attorney William Wallshein has more than 39 years of experience, including five years as a prosecutor in Palm Beach County. Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida to discuss your case.