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Obstruction of Justice

It is a criminal offense in the state of Florida to obstruct justice. In many cases, people may be charged with this offense even if they had no intention of doing so, did not realize that what they were doing was an obstruction of justice, or in fact were not obstructing justice at all. If convicted of obstruction of justice, you could face penalties for a third degree felony. That could mean up to five years in prison and a stiff fine.

 

Any criminal conviction can destroy your dreams of promotion, affect your job prospects, your finances and family. If accused of obstruction don’t hesitate, call Miami criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes Esq., as soon as possible.

What could be considered ‘obstruction of justice?

 

Many activities could be considered as obstruction or resisting the job of law enforcement officers. Florida Statute 843 describes what is meant by ‘obstruction of justice.’ It means ‘knowingly and willfully obstructing, opposing or resisting an officer who is carrying out their duty.’ The definition of what is ‘an officer’ includes:

  • any law enforcement officer;

  • anyone employed by the parole commission such as a legal-aide or supervisor;

  • anyone who has been authorized to carry out the legal process;

  • a fire control or emergency services officer.

 

The ways in which ‘obstruction of justice’ may be considered illegal are surprisingly broad. Some are obvious; others less so. Examples of activities or actions which are in this category of crime are given below.

 

  • Possession without permission of a key to a law enforcement officer’s handcuffs;

  • Bringing tools into a prison that could help an inmate escape or make it easier for someone to escape;

  • Removal of an officer’s weapon, such as a taser gun, or firearm;

  • Removal of an officer’s walkie-talkie;

  • Impersonation of a police officer;

  • Refusing to help a peace officer;

  • Using an illegally acquired police officer’s badge to falsely represent themselves;

  • Disguising themselves in order to resist arrest;

  • Preventing a victim of crime of medical attention or care;

  • Attempting to escape from a police officer;

  • Attacking a police dog, a fire dog, a police horse or SAR dog;

  • Releasing the name of a police officer or other law enforcement officer;

  • Using the radio frequency used by police for unlawful communication;

  • Harassing the duties or activities of someone involved in a neighborhood watch program.

 

Defenses available to a charge of obstruction of justice

 

The principal defense to a charge of obstruction relates to the evidence obtained by the prosecution being inadequate to prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that the accused knowingly and willingly attempted to obstruct or resist an officer in the course of their duty. In many cases, a charge of obstruction can be dismissed altogether, or if a conviction is obtained, the penalties minimized to reflect the seriousness of the alleged crime.

 

If you have been arrested for any criminal offense in Florida, such as obstruction of justice, you will need effective legal representation. It is your right to be defended in court. You cannot be convicted unless the prosecution has sufficient evidence that can prove ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that you committed the offense. Contact Miami criminal defense attorney, Albert Quirantes, at 305-644-1800.

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Albert M. Quirantes | Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Office
Obstruction of Justice in Miam Florida