Obstruction of justice charges can be very serious, often resulting in felony convictions and prison time. Actions that obstruct, influence or impede official investigations are, in fact, generally viewed as crimes against justice itself, since they seem to undermine our legal system.
Obstruction of justice charges are sometimes brought at the state level when specific acts that allegedly interfere with the daily work of the local or state law enforcement and justice system occur. In contrast, federal charges are brought when the alleged obstruction involves a federal investigation, federal court proceeding, or proceedings before departments, agencies, or committees of the federal government.
If you’ve been charged or suspect you may be charged with obstruction of justice, you need an experienced defense attorney who understands the complex legal and sentencing issues of obstruction cases and knows how to negotiate successfully with prosecutors. At Haas Law, we have the knowledge, investigative capacity, and state and federal court experience to defend you successfully against obstruction of justice charges.
Federal Obstruction of Justice Charges
The federal code defines obstruction of justice broadly as “interference with the orderly administration of law and justice” and enumerates more than 20 types of obstruction. The types include, but are not limited to:
- Influencing or injuring an officer or juror
- Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant
- Destroying corporate audit records
- Retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant
- Obstructing a criminal investigation
- Hampering the proceedings of a U.S. government agency, department, or committee.
Obstruction of justice offenses may also be added to other charges, such as racketeering and money laundering. If convicted of the original charge, your sentence could be increased substantially because of any obstruction of justice that occurred during the investigation, prosecution, or sentencing for the offense.
Federal law sets different sentences for different types of obstruction. For example, threatening or attempting to intimidate a juror is punishable by a fine and up to 10 years in prison. However, if the intimidation involved an attempted murder or other serious felony against a juror, you could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. On the other hand, if you are convicted of interfering with the due administration of justice, you could face up to 5 years in federal prison or 8 years if the case was related to terrorism.
Defending Against Charges of Obstructing Justice
The federal statute on obstruction of justice focuses more on the intended effect of obstruction than on the specific act committed, so actions that seem harmless can be seen as criminal if they intentionally impede the administration of justice. The prosecution does not have to prove that any actual obstruction occurred, but that you attempted to obstruct justice.
In many cases, proving this intent can be difficult, especially when an experienced federal defense attorney mounts a strong defense. Because of the complexities in federal obstruction of justice cases, it is very important that you have a skilled federal defense attorney leveraging ambiguities in the law, creating your best defense, negotiating with federal prosecutors on your behalf, and advocating for your rights.
Fight Obstruction of Justice Charges with Help from an Experienced Federal Defense Attorney
At Haas Law, we are experienced in helping clients who are being investigated for obstruction of justice and other federal crimes. As a former federal prosecutor, David Haas has the skill, knowledge, and resources to defend you successfully and obtain the best possible outcome for your future.
If you are facing obstruction charges in Florida or anywhere in the United States, let a federal criminal investigations attorney from Haas Law fight to protect your rights. Call us any time at 407-755-7675 or submit our “Tell us what happened” form online to get immediate help.