Obstruction of Justice is a serious crime which can result in felony charges and prison time. However, most people who are accused of Obstruction of Justice in Utah don’t see it coming and may not recognize initially that they need the advice of a criminal defense lawyer. In the majority of cases, people who find themselves charged with Obstruction of Justice are third parties who have information about a crime or knowledge of a person who may have committed a crime. There are many scenarios where friends or family members may find themselves drawn in to try to help a loved one in a criminal situation. In such cases innocent people can be in danger of committing Obstruction of Justice under Utah law. Unfortunately, there have also been many situations when Utah police and prosecutors have used the threat of Obstruction of Justice charges to coerce third partied into giving up information or testifying in a prosecution. If you have been charged with Obstruction of Justice in Utah or are worried that you are getting into a situation which could result in Obstruction of Justice charges, you need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
Utah Obstruction of Justice Laws
The ways in which a person can commit Obstruction of Justice under Utah law are many and varied. 76-8-306. Basically, the crime of Obstruction of Justice involves any action which is intended to hinder or delay the investigation, apprehension, prosecution, conviction, or punishment of another person who may have committed a crime. For example, Obstruction of Justice could involve:
- Providing someone with a weapon
- Harboring or concealing a person
- Destroying or altering an item that could be evidence in a criminal case
- Providing someone with transportation or a disguise
- Warning a person that they are about to be discovered or apprehended
- Giving law enforcement false information about a suspect, a witness, or criminal conduct.
These and countless other actions, whether they are spontaneous or planned, can result in being charged with Obstruction of Justice. And, the law applies equally regardless of whether the person you are protecting is an adult or a juvenile. If you have questions about whether any of your actions could constitute Obstruction of Justice or if the police are threatening to charge you with Obstruction of Justice unless you cooperate with them you need to call an Obstruction of Justice criminal defense attorney at Intermountain Legal as soon as possible.
Consequences of a Utah Obstruction of Justice Conviction
The criminal punishments for a third party convicted with Obstruction of Justice in Utah vary depending on the severity of the underlying crime the first person defendant is charged with. Generally, Obstruction of Justice is a second degree felony if the underlying crime is a capital offense or a first degree felony. Utah court imposed criminal penalties for a second degree felony can include one to fifteen years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In most cases, Obstruction of Justice is charged as a third degree felony if the underlying crime is a second degree felony. For a third degree felony a Utah criminal court can order up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5000. In the case of other underlying charges, Obstruction of Justice is usually a class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are punishable in Utah with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2500. All of these generalizations have exceptions and provisos for specific obstructive actions.
The law contains additional rules and consequences for Obstruction of Justice committed before a court of law. In some situations, Obstruction of Justice committed before a court of law, such as lying during a trial, can be charged as a more serious crime than the underlying crime committed by the original criminal defendant.
Trying to understand the Utah law governing the consequences of Obstruction of Justice can be confusing and frustrating. If you are wondering how any of these consequences can apply to you, call an experienced Obstruction of Justice criminal defense attorney at Intermountain Legal for a free explanation.
Contact an Experienced Utah Obstruction of Justice Lawyer
Dealing with an Obstruction of Justice charge in Utah can feel like you are digging yourself into a deeper and deeper hole. Obstruction of Justice is a complicated law with very real and life-altering consequences. If you are facing Obstruction of Justice charges, your best option is to call an experienced Utah Obstruction of Justice criminal defense lawyer at Intermountain Legal for a free consultation. We can answer your questions and give you the right advice because we know what works. The Obstruction of Justice criminal defense attorneys at Intermountain Legal have helped hundreds of people and have spent hundreds of hours in court resolving exactly these kinds of situations. We have the knowledge and experience to help you. Call us today for a free consultation at 801-990-4200, or contact us online here.