Obstructing Defense Attorneys in Middlesex County, NJ
Edison Obstruction Charge Lawyers
The offense of Obstructing Administration of Law or other Governmental Function under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1 is an indictable crime or a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, depending on the nature of the specific allegations. This comprehensive statute is often used to ensnare people who are charged with higher-level criminal offenses such as eluding or resisting arrest. Standing alone, the offense of obstruction carries substantial penalties that can disrupt a person’s life. As such, it is important to understand what it means to be charged with obstructing justice prior to making decisions in your case. If you have been charged with obstruction in New Brunswick, Edison, Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Carteret, Piscataway, or another town in Middlesex County, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer free of charge by calling (732) 659-9600 today. William A. Proetta and our knowledgeable team of attorneys are here to provide dedicated counsel and assistance with your unique case.
2C:29-1. Obstructing administration of law or other governmental function
What is obstruction per N.J.S.A 2C:29-1 in New Jersey?
Specifically, obstruction occurs when a person is proven to intentionally interfere with a “governmental function” or “administration of law.” It is commonly alleged that the accused took steps to stop law enforcement from discovering or otherwise investigating events such as traffic violations, felony crimes, or disorderly persons offenses. The specific acts taken by the person charged include: force, flight, intimidation, violence, or interference. Additionally, you can be charged with obstructing by interfering with an investigation or by committing any unlawful act.
As one can ascertain, obstruction can be charged in many situations and it is frequently used to detain people throughout New Jersey. The offense of obstruction is commonly seen in conjunction with other criminal offenses, although they are typically connected to the same incident. As is evidenced by the statute, obstruction can occur in many different ways. Eluding police, destroying evidence, and lying are all acts that permit such charges under New Jersey section 2C:29-1. For example, if you are being pulled over by the police and you attempt to get away by speeding off or eluding law enforcement, you may also be charged with obstructing. Also, you may be charged with an obstruction offense if you destroy evidence. Eating the weed that is in your pocket so police do not arrest you for a marijuana possession is an obstruction offense because you destroyed evidence that could have been used to prosecute you. Another example of obstructing the administration of law is when a person hides evidence of an offense, such as switching license plates of a stolen vehicle so that the driver can remain undetected. Additionally, providing false information during an investigation with the intention of fooling the police or sending them on a wild goose chase for fictitious information is also considered obstruction.
What is the Penalty for Obstruction in NJ?
Obstruction is a fourth degree crime or a disorderly persons offense, depending on the given situation. In particular, the degree of obstructing is guided by the underlying offense for which you are trying to avoid detection. If the offense for which you are trying to escape prosecution is not a felony, the ensuing obstruction charge will be a disorderly persons offense. If the underlying offense that you are trying to hide is a felony offense, you will be charged with a fourth degree indictable crime.
Consider the example above in which someone eats the marijuana they possess while being pulled over. The offense of possessing the weed is a disorderly persons offense and therefore, the obstruction will be charged as a disorderly persons offense. Now, if the substance you ate was cocaine, your charge will be elevated to a fourth degree crime because possessing cocaine is an indictable offense (felony) by law in New Jersey. Simply put, the more serious the offense for which you hope to avoid capture or prosecution, the more serious the charges for obstruction will be.
When facing obstruction charges, the potential sentence or consequence hinges on whether it is a crime or disorderly persons offense. If the only charge that you have is a disorderly persons offense of obstruction and it is not associated with an indictable crime, your case will be heard in the Municipal Court. The specific Municipal Court with jurisdiction is determined by the town in which the offense was committed. If convicted of a disorderly persons offense for obstructing law, you can be forced to pay a $1,000 fine, spend 6 months in jail, be ordered to pay restitution, and be placed on probation. The potential sentence increases if you are convicted of a fourth degree indictable crime.
For a fourth degree obstruction charge, your case will be heard in the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged offense was committed. If convicted of fourth degree obstruction of justice, the maximum penalty is a $10,000 fine, 18 months in state prison, and possible probation. Also, the court will order that you provide a DNA sample and fingerprinting resulting in the identification of you as a criminal in the state’s database.
New Brunswick NJ Obstructing Law Defense Lawyer can Help with Your Case
If you have been charged with obstructing the administration of law in Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Plainsboro, Metuchen, South Brunswick, or elsewhere in Middlesex County NJ, you should seek the assistance of an attorney who understands the law and knows that all things are not as they appear. We understand that people need assistance in the face of obstruction charges and our Middlesex County criminal defense firm is here for you. Call our local office in Edison at (732) 659-9600 for a free consultation. Our defense lawyers will listen to you, review the case, explain the charges, and make sure your constitutional rights are intact. Contact us today to learn more.