Law enforcement officers in the state of Nevada must be free to do their jobs. To make certain that the important work of peace officers is not interfered with, Nevada has many different laws that prohibit conduct that could impede peace officers and other public officials from doing their work effectively. Many of these laws prohibiting misconduct in connection with public officials carrying out their duties are found within Chapter 199 of Nevada’s code.
Chapter 199 is part of Title 15, which is the section of Nevada code detailing crimes and punishments. Each chapter in Title 15 defines different types of offenses, and Chapter 199 defines offenses against public justice. There are additional subcategories within Chapter 199 including a category for solicitation crimes, conspiracy, bribery offenses, falsifying evidence, and perjury.
There is also a subsection in Chapter 199 that prohibits conduct that instructs a criminal investigation. A defendant who is accused of obstructing a criminal investigation could face serious criminal charges and could potentially be convicted of an offense that results in imprisonment. It is imperative that you respond assertively when you are accused of obstructing a criminal investigation so you can try to reduce the possibility of being convicted of an obstruction offense and being left with a criminal record that affects your future.
LV Criminal Defense can provide you with the knowledgeable advocacy you need as you face charges of obstruction. Our Las Vegas criminal defense firm has provided help to many defendants accused of serious criminal offenses, including crimes related to obstructing police investigations. To find out more about the ways in which we can help you to raise defenses and fight for your future, give us a call today.
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
The subsection of Chapter 199 that relates to obstruction crimes includes four different statutes. These statutes relate to exceptions to obstruction offenses; disclosing information that is subject to an investigation; notification of possible searches; and notification of devices designed to intercept communications.
N.R.S. 199.510 sets forth an exception to the rules against obstructing a criminal investigation. This statute makes clear that the rules against obstructing an investigation do not apply to privileged communication that takes place between an attorney and a client. According to N.R.S. 199.510, none of the provisions of N.R.S. 199.520, 199.530 and 199.540 apply to communications that occur between a lawyer and a client when the attorney and client are communicating within the scope of attorney client privilege. This statute ensures that an attorney cannot face criminal prosecution for keeping client information confidential.
N.R.S. 199.520 applies to officers of the court, court employees, law enforcement personnel, or employees who work for law enforcement agencies. The relevant statute makes it a crime for any officer of employee to notify a person who is the subject of any investigation about the existence of that investigation with the intent to directly or indirectly obstruct the investigation.
The statute also makes it a crime for an officer or an employee to disclose to a person who is being investigated any information about the investigation with the goal of directly or indirectly obstructing the investigation.
A violation of N.R.S. 199.520 is considered to be a category D felony, so an employee or official who provides notification of an investigation or details about an investigation to the subject of that investigation could be left with a felony criminal record.
N.R.S. 199.540 also applies to employees of courts, court officials, law enforcement officers, and employees of law enforcement agencies. This particular statute makes it a crime for an employee or official with knowledge that a search warrant is being applied for to provide notice to the person who will be subject to a possible search and seizure. Providing notice that an official is obtaining a search warrant to the person who is going to be searched is also a felony offense if the notice was provided with the intent to obstruct the investigation.
Finally, N.R.S. 199.540 also applies to court employees and officers, law enforcement agents, and employees of law enforcement agencies. However, it also applies to employees of communication companies, to landlords, and to custodians who are ordered to provide information, facilities, or technical assistance necessary to accomplish an interception of wire or oral communications. In other words, if a phone company or a landlord is lawfully ordered to provide assistance facilitating the tapping of a suspects phones, that employee or landlord is subject to the laws in N.R.S. 199.540.
This statute makes it unlawful to provide notice of the interception of communications or to attempt to give notice of the interception of communications. It applies in all circumstances when any devices are used to capture phone and wire communications, including in circumstances where a pen register or similar device will be used to try to record communications. A violation of N.R.S. 199.540 is also a category D felony, which means that a convicted defendant could face imprisonment and could be left with a felony record.
All of these offenses, together, are designed to ensure that people with official knowledge of an investigation do not impede that investigation by providing any type of notice to the person who is being investigated. In all cases, the prosecutor will need to show that the goal was to unlawfully interfere with the investigation.
Obstruction of a criminal investigation is taken seriously, and defendants accused of wrongdoing will need to reach out to a Vegas criminal lawyer as soon as they are under investigation or as soon as they have been arrested if they wish to maximize the chances of avoiding a felony conviction. LV Criminal Defense is here to help, so give us a call today to find out about the assistance our firm can provide.