According to MN Statute 609.50, a person is guilty of obstruction of justice when they “obstruct, hinder, or prevent the lawful execution of any legal process, civil or criminal, or apprehension of another on a charge or conviction of a criminal offense.” There are many ways a person can obstruct justice, from attempting to flee to lying to a law enforcement official.
Obstruction of Justice Offenses in Minnesota
Some of the more common offenses that could lead to an obstruction of justice charge in Minnesota include:
- Interfering with a crime scene/tampering with evidence
- Falsely reporting a crime
- Attempting to bribe a jury
- Lying to a police officer during questioning
- Attempting to flee/resisting arrest
- Contempt of court
Violations for obstruction of justice can vary in severity based on the specific offense that led to the charge. Obstruction of justice can carry some very serious consequences, so it is always a wise decision to consult with an obstruction of justice attorney to determine the best way to fight your case.
Criminal Penalties for Obstruction of Justice
You may be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the nature of your obstruction of justice violation. Below we examine the potential penalties.
|Accompanying circumstances||Potential penalty|
|The person committing the act knew or had reason to know their actions created the risk of death, serious injury, or substantial property damage, or their actions resulted in one of the previously listed conditions.||Imprisonment for no more than five years, or fines up to $10,000, or both.|
|The act included violence, or the threat of violence, not already mentioned above.||Imprisonment for no more than one year, or fines up to $3,000, or both.|
|No previously mentioned circumstances.||Imprisonment for no more than 90 days, or fines up to $1,000, or both.|
Minnesota Obstruction of Justice Attorney
Obstruction of justice may seem like a minor charge, but those convicted can face difficulties pursuing educational or job opportunities. In addition, an obstruction of justice conviction may influence the outcome of future criminal charges.
A first-time obstruction of justice offender usually only receives a fine, but jail time may be sought in serious cases. Repeat offenders or those with serious criminal histories often face harsher penalties. A Minnesota obstruction of justice lawyer can explain the potential consequences of your offense and offer advice for defending your case.