Obstruction of Justice
The United States judicial system was built on strict standards of ethics and transparency. Obstruction of justice refers to acts that violate those standards. The government aggressively prosecutes obstruction of justice cases, even when it lacks evidence of an underlying crime. Unfortunately, the government’s zeal often ensnares innocent people or those who bear only minor blame. Too often a defendant survives an investigation of the initial allegations only to be charged with the cover-up.
Harvey & Binnall, PLLC urges anybody who is a witness, subject or target of a criminal investigation to retain counsel immediately. Our attorneys carefully guide corporations and individuals through the investigative process. We advise clients on appropriate and legal actions, including handling documents and electronic communications and responding to inquiries.
If questioned in a criminal investigation, do not take matters into your own hands. Trying to fixing the problem might very well make things worse. Instead, consult with experienced counsel to guide the investigative process.
What is Obstruction of Justice?
Broadly, obstruction of justice is a forceful, threatening or corrupt act or communication that obstructs, impedes or influences the administration of justice. Actions that may be charged as obstruction of justice include:
- Destroying physical evidence
- Deleting relevant computer files, emails or text messages
- Altering documents to hide criminal activity
- Bribing law enforcement, prosecutors or jurors
- Giving false information during an interview with law enforcement agents
- Concealing material information from federal agents
Trial Experience is Crucial in an Obstruction of Justice Claim
Obstruction of justice cases are usually difficult for the government to prove. In addition to proving the obstructive act or communication, the government must also prove that the defendant knew a judicial proceeding was pending at the time, intended to obstruct justice and understood the act would, in fact, obstruct justice.
Our firm prefers to only negotiate plea deals to mitigate penalties if prosecutors can show solid proof of each element of the offense and it is in our client’s best interest. Since the government often cannot meet this high burden, we are always ready to take these types of cases to trial. Our attorneys have white-collar criminal defense experience and polished trial skills to effectively handle these high-stakes charges. We also have a reputation for holding the prosecutor’s feet to the fire and not backing down on demanding an acquittal. If involved at the early stages, our lawyers might even persuade the prosecution to withdraw or decline to bring charges.