What Qualifies as Obstruction of Justice in New Jersey?
Obstruction of justice, also sometimes called obstructing the administration of law, is a very broad crime that can be used to describe any interference with a police officer attempting to do their job. It can range from a minor nuisance to officers to much more serious offenses. In certain situations this can have severe consequences including jail time. Understanding the nuances of the law will help to understand what exactly constitutes obstruction of justice and what the penalties are.
The specifics of the law regarding obstruction of justice in NJ can be found under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1. The law states that obstructing the administration of law involves purposefully obstructing, impairing, or perverting the administration of law (or another governmental function) or attempting to prevent (or actually preventing) a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of flight, intimidation, force, violence, physical interference, or through any independently unlawful act.
Examples of Obstruction of Justice Include:
- Lying to a police officer while being questioned
- Destroying, hiding, or fabricating evidence during a police investigation
- Attempting to influence a witness or jury
- Otherwise failing to cooperate with law enforcement in any way
Penalties for Obstruction of Justice in New Jersey
Obstruction of justice in New Jersey will most commonly be charged as a disorderly person offense. However, in situations where a person obstructs the detection or investigation of a crime or the prosecution of another person for a crime, the charge can be bumped up to a fourth degree crime.
- For a disorderly persons offense, a person can face up to 6 months in jail or be required to pay a fine of up to $1,000.
- In a situation where a crime has been upgraded to a fourth degree crime, a person can face up to 18 months in jail or be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
Need to Contact an Attorney?
If you or someone you know has been charged with obstruction of justice, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Schneider Freiberger today for a free consultation. We’ll protect your legal rights and give you the representation you need.