Obstruction of Justice
Obstruction of justice involves interfering with police activity and is a serious crime in the state of New Jersey. A conviction may result in jail or prison time, exorbitant fees, a criminal record, and a bad reputation with law enforcement. Recovering from such consequences can be extremely difficult; it may take many years to return to a life of relative normalcy. That's why it is crucial to know exactly what constitutes obstruction of justice and the penalties associated with the crime.
Facing a criminal charge is a stressful and frightening affair. Every choice you make after your arrest may affect your prospect of a better future. You should treat your situation with the appropriate gravity and consult with an attorney right away. The experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at LS&P Lawyers have the resources and knowledge to conduct a thorough evaluation of your case and effectively contest the prosecution's claims. Call us today at (908) 709-0500 to learn more about your rights and legal options.
What is Obstruction of Justice?
N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1 states: "A person commits an offense if he purposely obstructs, impairs, or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle, or by means of any independently unlawful act."
In order to find a person guilty of obstruction of justice, the court must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant:
- Committed an act of flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle, or an unlawful act;
- Acted to obstruct, impair, or pervert the administration of law or other governmental function, or to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function; and
- Did, or attempted to, commit the violations as described above.
You cannot be charged with obstruction of justice for words alone. You also cannot be charged with the crime if the public servant or administrator was acting unlawfully.
What are the Penalties for Obstruction of Justice in New Jersey?
Most crimes that fall under obstructing the administration of law, which is what the state of New Jersey calls obstruction of justice, are charged as disorderly persons offenses. However, if you hinder a public servant from noticing a crime, conducting an investigation, or prosecuting an alleged criminal, then your charge may be bumped up to a fourth degree crime.
If you are convicted with obstruction of justice as a disorderly persons offense, you may face a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine up to $1,000. If you are convicted of a much more serious fourth degree offense, you may face a prison sentence of up to 18 months and a fine up to $10,000.
Why Legal Assistance is Necessary
If you are convicted of obstruction of justice, the repercussions may resonate for a long time, even if you are able to avoid a jail sentence. Due to a criminal record, you may have trouble finding a job and developing meaningful social relationships, especially in today's world where privacy is nearly nonexistent. It is highly advised that you contact LS&P Lawyers today to get started on protecting your future.