Obstruction of Justice Attorney in Miami, FL
Whether you or a loved one has been arrested or is under investigation for obstruction of justice, it is critical to consult with an experienced Miami obstruction of justice attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. An experienced federal crimes lawyer can help you navigate the process and help maximize your chances of achieving a favorable outcome.
What Constitutes Obstruction of Justice?
In essence, the definition of obstruction of justice is when someone tries to thwart the execution of a legal process or the administration of justice in a criminal or civil case. A person can be charged with obstruction of justice if they obstruct or interfere with a government investigation or prosecution at any stage. Prosecutors and judges treat this as a serious crime because it can threaten the very integrity of the criminal justice system.
People who willfully or knowingly interfere with investigations or judicial proceedings are the most likely to be charged with obstruction of justice under federal law. You have probably heard the saying that “the cover-up can be worse than the crime.” In federal criminal cases, this can often be the case if the government is accusing you of tampering with witnesses or destroying evidence. It should be noted that attempted obstruction of justice carries heavy penalties that include fines and jail time.
Obstruction of Justice Examples
Various federal statutes cover different types of obstruction of justice. Here are some obstruction of justice examples:
- interfering with a criminal investigation (18 U.S.C. § 1510);
- trying to influence or hurt a court officer or juror (18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1504);
- attempting to influence, intimidate, manipulate, or retaliate against, a victim, witness, or informant (18. U.S.C. §§ 1512, 1513);
- interfering with or obstructing a court order (18 U.S.C. § 1509);
- resisting or obstructing an extradition agent (18 U.S.C. § 1502);
- interfering or obstructing a department, agency, or committee proceeding (18 U.S.C. § 1505);
- altering or stealing court records or investigation records (18 U.S.C. §§ 1506, 1519);
- obstructing a criminal health care investigation (18 U.S.C. § 1518);
- obstructing a federal audit (18 U.S.C. § 1516);
- obstructing a financial institution examination (18 U.S.C. § 1517);
- eavesdropping on federal grand jury proceedings (18 U.S.C. § 1508);
- interfering or obstructing a federal process or writ server (18 U.S.C. § 1501); or
- demonstrating or protesting with the intent to obstruct the administration of justice (18 U.S. Code § 1507).
For several reasons, prosecutors often have fewer difficulties proving obstruction of justice than other federal crimes. There usually are no statute of limitations issues, and the acts constituting the obstruction are often easier to prove than the actual crime being investigated. Nonetheless, the prosecutor still has to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, and you can face severe punishment and penalties if you are convicted.
Possible Penalty for Obstruction of Justice Charge
The maximum penalty for obstruction of justice conviction depends on the particular statute a person was charged under. The most common obstruction of justice charge, 18 U.S.C. § 1503, carries a maximum sentence of ten (10) years in prison. Other statutes carry a maximum of five (5) years in prison and can be increased under certain circumstances (e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 1505 increases the maximum sentence to eight (8) years if related to terrorism). There is up to a twenty (20) year maximum sentence for cases that involve violence or attempted murder of an official in certain obstruction cases.
A conviction can also result in a term of Supervised Release after a prison sentence and a fine.
Defenses to Obstruction of Justice
Some possible defenses to an obstruction of justice charge are:
- that the government failed to prove all of the elements of the charged crime beyond a reasonable doubt;
- that even though you may have intentionally done some act, you did not have the intent to obstruct;
- that you weren’t aware of the existence of an investigation; and
- whatever you are accused of doing wasn’t relevant to a “federal matter.”
Contact an Experienced Obstruction of Justice Attorney in Miami
By taking the immediate action of hiring an experienced obstruction of justice attorney in Miami, you are reducing the chances that your case will result in long-term consequences for your career, personal life, and reputation.
CALL US NOW for a CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION at (305) 538-4545, or simply take a moment to fill out our confidential and secure intake form.* The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry.
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