Obstruction of justice presents itself when an individual acts in a way to intentionally impede or interfere with a government investigation or prosecution. Federal charges within this realm are designed to preserve the integrity of the criminal justice process. This statute applies to all phases, from an investigation, to a prosecution and trial, to a sentencing.
Commonly, this charge is seen where a person willfully and knowingly interferes with a government investigation or court proceeding. Witnesses tampering, destroying evidence, and bribing a juror can all lead to obstruction charges.
There are a number offenses that a can be committed and obstruction of justice can take almost any form, including:
Codified by 18 U.S.C. § 1503, 1510, 1506, and 1509, federal obstruction charges call for serious penalties, and may allow for decades imprisonment depending on certain applicable enhancements such as the murder of a witness or juror. Bribery and other forms of impediment similarly carry prison eligible sentences.
Simply stated, perjury is the crime of lying under oath. This can be a lie during a grand jury proceeding, trial, or at some other phase of litigation requiring courtroom testimony. Perjury charges are almost always insinuated by federal prosecutors when dealing with witnesses who have the potential to lie under oath in an effort to elude criminal liability or lessen their role.
In the alternative, federal agents and prosecutors frequently advise individuals that it is a crime to make a false statement to a federal official. This statute, codified by 18 U.S.C. § 1621, punishes any individual who intentionally makes a false statement to a federal prosecutor or agent. Often, these situations may arise during “proffer” sessions or during interrogations immediately following an arrest by the FBI.
If you are accused of obstruction of justice, perjury, or lying to a federal agent, it is imperative that you hire a former prosecutor and prominent criminal defense attorney who has dealt with these offenses on both sides of the courtroom. The steps your defense attorney takes, by way of investigation and creative advocacy, will increase your chances of successfully walking away from these serious accusations and shape the rest of your life.
The sooner you put your case in the hands of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, the more opportunity you will have to work toward a favorable outcome.