Obstruction of Justice in Arizona
When a criminal investigation is launched against you, chances are that you’ll feel tempted to prevent the uncovering of evidence. Resisting the urge is important because if you do, you will be committing a crime. The obstruction of a criminal investigation (obstruction of justice in Arizona) carries its consequences in the state and throughout the US.
Regulations Defining Obstruction of Justice in Arizona
According to Arizona Revised Statutes 13-2409, a person is obstructing justice whenever they knowingly delay or prevent communication of vital information to court magistrates/investigators through the means of:
- Threats and intimidation
- Providing false information
- The damage or destruction of property
- The falsification of evidence
The obstruction of justice is a criminal offense. Depending on the circumstances, it will contribute to either Class 3 or Class 5 felony charges.
The simplest example of obstructing justice is threatening a witness to harm them if they testify against the defendant in an upcoming trial. A manager who commits corporate fraud and threatens employees that they will be implicated in it if they report the occurrence is also committing obstruction of justice.
Usually, this type of offense will lead to Class 5 felony charges. Whenever the obstruction occurs to aid the activity of a criminal gang, a person will face Class 3 felony charges and more serious consequences if they’re found guilty.
Obstruction does not have to be committed by the individual charged with a certain crime in order to be prosecuted. An accomplice or a family member could intimidate witnesses and tamper with evidence for the purpose of protecting someone. The penalties and legal procedures remain unchanged under such circumstances.
Penalties for the Obstruction of Criminal Investigations
Since the obstruction of justice is a felony rather than misdemeanor, the consequences can be rather serious.
A person charged with a Class 5 felony could face anywhere between six months and 2.5 years in prison. Violent offenders who are charged with Class 5 felony will be incarcerated for a longer period ranging between two and eight years. The criminal record of the defendant could be a contributing factor to a longer sentence.
Possible Defense for Obstruction of Criminal Investigation
If you’re charged with obstructing a criminal investigation, know that your attorney can come up with a defense strategy that will yield the best possible outcome under the circumstances.
Proving that the accusation is false or unsubstantiated is one possible defense tactic. It can work whenever the evidence against the defendant is not sufficient. Another option is establishing the lack of intent. In this case, the attorney will work to establish the fact that their client did not know the respective actions were a violation of Arizona law.
Claiming that violations occurred during the investigative process can also produce a good outcome. Whenever investigators fail upholding the rights of the suspect, an experienced criminal defense attorney will potentially gain the capability to tear the entire case apart.
A good strategy will be to enter a not guilty plea. This will give the lawyer enough time to acquaint themselves with the situation and to determine which strategy could potentially deliver the best possible outcome. A resolution through a plea to a lesser charge may also be possible.
Very often, obstruction of justice is going to be very difficult to prove. The prosecution will often depend solely on witness interviews to establish the fact. Even when a witness is present, a criminal defense lawyer could claim that the accusations are false.
Do not take obstruction of justice accusations lightly. While difficult to prove, they could potentially increase a sentence and they will remain on record. Refrain from speaking to the police and ask to call your attorney as soon as possible.