What Does the Obstruction of Justice Mean?
Obstruction of justice is a broad term and can include a multitude of different conduct. Relative to obstructing police officers performing their lawful duties, a person would be guilty of Resisting and Obstructing if he or she assaults, batters, wounds, resists, obstructs, opposes, or endangers the officer or the officer’s investigation.
Obstruction of Justice Can Include the Crime of Resisting or Obstructing an Officer
Obstruction of justice means, in terms of interfering with law enforcement officers is when a person assaults, batters, wounds, resists, obstructs, opposes, or endangers an officer while he or she is performing his or her lawful duties. This offense is most frequently called Resisting and Obstructing an Officer and it is a felony punishable by imprisonment for two years or more, depending on whether there are injuries or death. Obstruction of justice can also be referred to as “resisting and obstructing”. Many people think that an assault on an officer is required for this charge but this is untrue. In fact, the law requires only that the defendant do any one of the following: assault, batter, wound, obstruct, oppose, or endanger the officer.
The penalties start at a two-year felony with not more than $2000 in fines – and go up to a 20-year felony with a $20,000 fine. The severity of the penalty is related to how seriously the other person is injured, if there is an injury, or if the officer is killed.
To obstruct includes the use or threatened use of physical interference or force or a knowing failure to comply with a lawful command. A person under the statute is a police officer, college police, conservation officers, sheriff, federal law enforcement, a firefighter, or a search and rescue officer. In many of these cases, the allegation is that the defendant did something that made the performance of the officer’s job more difficult.
The problem with obstruction of justice offenses is they are very easy for a police officer to charge. Just failing to get out of an automobile when requested can be considered as disobeying a lawful order can subject a person to an obstruction charge. The potential for abuse is tremendous and these charges are often brought to court to avoid a possible lawsuit or complaint for misuse of police power, abuse of power, excessive force, or malicious prosecution.
Obstruction of Justice Can Happen Any Time and Anywhere.
Obstruction of justice can happen along the side of the road during any traffic stop. It can also occur when a person does not comply with a subpoena for important records that they do not wish to reveal. This is interpreted as failing to comply with a lawful command. So, any person, in any position, can be accused of the offense of obstruction of justice or resisting and obstructing the police. The potential for abuse of this charge is scary.
Because of the risk of overcharging, false charging, or excessive punishment is high, the value of having the best possible defense lawyer is great. A very good criminal defense attorney, who has the credibility to the court and the prosecutor, has the credible potential of getting charges dismissed or helping a client avoid a criminal record and jail. Although these charges can happen in any county in Michigan, they are most frequently misused in Southeastern Michigan counties including Oakland County, Macomb County, Wayne County, Livingston County, and Washtenaw County.
Charged with obstruction of justice? You will want a strong defense.
Obstruction of justice charges can occur in many ways. It does not take a particularly seasoned police officer to use that offense with every opportunity that arises. This is why you need the protection of the “go-to” criminal defense attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. We take the defense of our clients personally. It is the most important thing to our attorneys both personally and professionally that a person’s rights are protected and that we achieve the best possible outcome. It is important that you have the best attorneys to protect you and that is why you need LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation, or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.