Obstruction of Justice Explained by Federal Defense Lawyer

The United States criminal justice system is built around the premise that every defendant deserves a fair trial and every defendant must be treated as innocent until proven guilty. This means that laws must be put in place to ensure that a fair trial actually occurs.

Some of those laws relate to the obstruction of justice. Those who try to interfere with due process or with the effective administration of the U.S. criminal justice system can be charged with a federal offense for obstruction of justice and can face harsh penalties if convicted.

Only certain types of conduct are classified as obstruction of justice, and prosecutors must prove very specific elements of this offense in order for you to be found guilty of a federal crime.

You can respond in a strategic way to charges to try to avoid conviction or get penalties reduced, but you will need to ensure that you have the right legal defense team to help you.

At LV Criminal Defense, federal criminal lawyers provide representation to clients in Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and surrounding states who have been accused of wrongdoing in connection with obstruction of justice.

Our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team understands how federal cases are prosecuted and we can put our extensive legal experience to work for you, so give us a call today.

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Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.


Federal Laws On Obstruction of Justice

Many different types of obstruction of justice can result in federal charges. The relevant laws dealing with obstruction of justice are found in 18 U.S. Code Chapter 73. There are a total of 22 statutes, each of which defines a different type of obstruction and establishes what a prosecutor would need to prove so a defendant could be convicted of that particular offense. The different federal statutes dealing with obstruction of justice include the following:

  • 18 U.S. Code section 1501: Assault on process server
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1502: Resistance to extradition agent
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1503: Influencing or injuring officer or juror generally
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1504: Influencing juror by writing
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1505: Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1506: Theft or alteration of record or process; false bail
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1507: Picketing or parading
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1508: Recording, listening to, or observing proceedings of grand or petit juries while deliberating or voting
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1509: Obstruction of court orders
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1510: Obstruction of criminal investigations
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1511: Obstruction of State or local law enforcement
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1512: Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1513: Retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1514: Civil action to restrain harassment of a victim or witness
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1514A: Civil action to protect against retaliation in fraud cases
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1515: Definitions for certain provisions; general provision
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1516: Obstruction of Federal audit
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1517: Obstructing examination of financial institution
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1518: Obstruction of criminal investigations of health care offenses
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1519: Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1520: Destruction of corporate audit records
  • 18 U.S. Code section 1521: Retaliating against a Federal judge or Federal law enforcement officer by false claim or slander of title

Each of these different statutes outlines different types of criminal conduct and establishes specific penalties for various offenses. For example, under 18 U.S. Code section 1501, a defendant could face up to a year of imprisonment and a fine for assault on a process server.

A defendant could be convicted of this offense for willfully and knowingly obstructing, resisting, or opposing an officer of the United States or another person who is duly authorized to serve or execute a judicial writ or process of any court of the United States. Assaulting or wounding a process server with knowledge that the individual is a process server could also be charged under 18 U.S. Code section 1501.

Resistance to an extradition agent could also result in up to a year of imprisonment under 18 U.S. Code section 1502, provided a defendant is convicted of knowingly and willfully obstructing, resisting, or opposing an extradition agent of the United States when that agent is attempting to perform his or her duties.

These are just a few of many examples of circumstances where a defendant could be convicted of offenses related to obstructing justice.

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When I initially met with Mr. Wooldridge, he took the opportunity to sit and go over my problem with me. He described details in my case which he found disturbing and explained why he I should have him on my side.

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It’s important to understand the specifics of when a defendant could be found guilty as well as possible penalties you could face so you can get help responding to the charges brought against you.

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Getting help from a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

A federal criminal defense attorney at LV Criminal Defense can represent you if you are accused of obstruction of justice. Whether you’re accused of obstructing a federal audit, destroying corporate audit records, obstructing proceedings before a department or agency, or any related offenses, our firm has the knowledge of 18 U.S. Code Chapter 73 that is necessary to help you develop a legal strategy and reduce the chances of conviction.

Our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team will review the charges against you, help you understand what prosecutors must prove, and assist you in introducing reasonable doubt, raising defenses, or negotiating a plea agreement to lessen penalties. In every case, we will help you to get the best outcome possible given the specifics of your situation.

Give us a call today to find out more about how we can help if you live in California, Arizona, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, or surrounding areas and have been accused of obstruction of justice or other federal crimes.