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Understanding when you might face obstruction of justice charges

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Criminal Defense

In Minnesota, obstruction of justice is a serious offense that involves interfering with the legal and law enforcement processes. The state designed the laws to protect the integrity of the judicial system and ensure that they serve justice fairly and without undue influence or interference.

If someone hampers a police investigation, court proceeding, or other legal processes, they might face charges of obstruction of justice. Depending on the severity of the obstruction, this offense can carry significant penalties, including fines and imprisonment. It’s important to understand the specific actions that could lead to such charges in Minnesota to avoid inadvertently breaking the law.

Lying to police

One common way individuals obstruct justice is by providing false information to law enforcement officers. This could include giving a false name during a traffic stop or lying about your whereabouts during a crime investigation. The police take intentionally misleading them during their investigation very seriously, and it can result in obstruction charges.

Interfering with arrests

Another example of obstruction is physically interfering with an arrest. If you attempt to pull an officer away from a suspect or physically block an officer from making an arrest, you can be charged with obstruction. This extends to any physical interference that prevents law enforcement from performing their duties.

Destroying or altering evidence

Destroying or altering evidence is a clear form of obstruction of justice. If you delete relevant emails, shred documents, or clean up a crime scene, these actions can lead to charges. The intent to prevent law enforcement from obtaining evidence important to an investigation constitutes obstruction.

Encouraging others to evade the law

Encouraging or helping someone avoid arrest or escape from police custody also falls under obstruction of justice. This could include hiding a fugitive, helping someone flee the state, or providing false alibis to law enforcement.

It’s important for residents to understand what behaviors can lead to obstruction charges. By respecting the role of law enforcement and the legal process, individuals can avoid the severe consequences that come with an obstruction of justice charge.