Obstruction of Justice Charges in California

Arrested for obstruction of justice in Los Angeles?

Section 148 of the California Penal Code makes it a crime to willfully "resist, delay or obstruct" a police officer or emergency medical technician in the performance of on-the-job duties. This also includes knowingly and maliciously interrupting or impeding with the transmission of communication through a public safety radio frequency. In both cases, you could be fined up to $1,000 and sent to county jail for up to one year if you are convicted. You will also have to live with a criminal record.

The state legal system is set up to give police officers the ability to carry out their functions with minimal interference, and you will face arrest and prosecution if you are perceived to be interfering with the operation of law. In fact, you could be charged with the crime of obstructing justice for doing virtually anything that constitutes an attempt to prevent a police officer from performing their duties. Do not discuss your case with investigators before you meet with a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer.

In California, you could be prosecuted for obstructing justice if you:

  • Lie to a police officer during an investigation
  • Provide a police officer with misleading information
  • Try to prevent an arrest (your own or someone else's)
  • Attempt to bar the free passage of a police officer
  • Offer or prepare false evidence in court proceedings
  • Destroy or attempt to conceal material evidence
  • Dissuade a witness or prevent them from testifying

Offering or Preparing False Evidence

Under California Penal Code Sections 132 and 134, it is a crime to knowingly present false written evidence during any kind of legal proceeding and/or prepare false evidence with the intent to use it in a legal proceeding. Both of these offenses are considered to be an obstruction of justice, and could lead to serious legal penalties if you are convicted. Offering or preparing false evidence is a felony offense in the state, which means that you could be sentenced to as much as three years in state prison.

Destroying or Concealing Evidence

Under California Penal Code Section 135, it is also a crime to knowingly destroy or conceal material evidence that is relevant to a court case or legal investigation. Most people assume that this is only relevant in criminal cases, but this is not necessarily true. You could still be charged with obstruction of justice if you knowingly destroy or conceal evidence that is relevant to non-criminal court proceedings—which could include, for example, destroying evidence in a divorce case or civil litigation case.

Preventing a Witness from Testifying

Under California Penal Code Section 136.1, it is a crime to knowingly prevent a witness or the victim of a crime from testifying in court or even reporting the crime to the authorities. This could include making direct threats against the witness and/or members of their family, offering money in exchange for their silence or even leaving covert messages indicating that the witness could be harmed if they attempt to testify or report the crime. This offense could either be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

Legal Defenses to Obstruction of Justice Charges

There are several ways to defend against an obstruction of justice charge, and your criminal attorney in Los Angeles will closely examine the evidence to find the most effective strategy. One of the most important issues that could come up is whether or not the police officer violated your Constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure. With careful preparation and aggressive representation from Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, you may be able to have this charge reduced or dropped.

Get Your Free Initial Consultation Today

When you face prosecution for the obstruction of justice, you need to work with the knowledgeable criminal defense team at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners. We will not hesitate to go to trial if that is what it takes to protect your rights and your freedom. You can't afford to have a mark on your criminal record, and we will fight tirelessly to disprove the evidence in your case. Set up your free consultation today!

Contact a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to find out more about what you can do to prepare your case against charges of obstruction of justice.