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Obstruction of Justice

Obstruction of Justice

Obstruction of Justice - The Basics

An Obstruction of Justice charge is usually treated as a Disorderly Persons offenses (misdemeanors) in New Jersey. This means that you face up to six months in jail & a $1000.00 fine if you plead guilty or are found guilty. Your obstruction of justice charges should be taken seriously since a conviction for this crime would stay on your record for 5 years.

Clients charged with obstruction of justice often claim that the police abused their power. This may or may not be true depending on the facts surrounding your case. These charges are often misunderstood & issued freely. As members of a protected class, police officers enjoy great protections. At the moment of arrest, people often panic and either resist the handcuffs or try to push their way out of getting arrested. It is at this point that the police usually add the obstruction of justice charge. While it may seem like an abuse of power, compelling reasons exist that support this charge. Rest assured that we can frequently negotiate to have these charges dismissed through the plea bargaining process. It is not easy, but it is possible.

An obstruction of justice conviction will affect your ability to get & maintain employment when your background check is conducted.

As Hackensack criminal lawyers, we represent clients charged with obstruction of justice in Bergen County and the neighboring three counties, Essex, Hudson, & Passaic County.

If you are facing obstruction of justice charges, we understand that you are concerned & we will help you. Not every interaction with the police rises to an obstruction of justice charge & it is our job to examine the facts of your case to advise you accordingly.

Obstruction of Justice Law - 2C:29-1

Under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1, obstruction of justice charges involve: 

purposefully obstructing, impairing, or perverting the administration of law (or another governmental function) or attempting to prevent (or actually preventing) a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of flight, intimidation, force, violence, physical interference, or through any independently unlawful act.

Some obstruction of justice examples include:

  • Coming to your friend’s aid while a police officer is making an arrest;
  • Preventing a police officer from questioning a suspect; 
  • Blocking a police officer from entering a building that he/she is lawfully permitted to enter.
  • Answering a police officer’s questions untruthfully
  • Tampering with or destroying evidence
  • Interfering with witnesses that are a part of an ongoing investigation

Obstruction of Justice - 3 Real Cases

We represented a client in Hackensack, NJ charged with obstruction of justice. They accused him of interfering with the police officer’s ability to arrest a guest at his party.  During our client’s free consultation he explained that he from his point of he view, he did not commit obstruction of justice. When he heard his friend complain about how tight the handcuffs, he ran into the room to see what was happening. Our client asked the police officer if he could loosen the handcuffs on his friend. They were too tight & his friend was screaming in pain. The whole incident was caught on a smartphone camera.

We reviewed the smartphone footage & felt that the obstruction of justice charge was weak. At our first NJ court appearance, we met with the prosecutor & showed him the smartphone video. As expected, the prosecutor felt the same way we did. After our meeting with the prosecutor, he agreed to dismiss the criminal charges.

In another case, our client was facing obstruction of justice charges in Newark. Our client was arrested on drug charges & refused to answer any police questions. He clearly stated that he wanted a lawyer & began to use profanity against the police when they continued their questioning. The police added an additional obstruction of justice charge & we were able to get this charge dismissed through plea bargaining.

In our last example, our Jersey City client was charged with resisting arrest & obstruction of justice. This time the police had a strong case. The police video showed our client fighting with the police as they tried to handcuff him. Instead of taking the case to trial, we were able to get the felony charges downgraded to municipal court. Ultimately, our client entered the conditional dismissal program & the resisting arrest & obstruction of justice charges got dismissed.

Obstruction of Justice - Your options

If you’ve been charged with obstruction of justice, you have the following options:

Plead Guilty

You will have to admit that you committed obstruction of justice. This option will leave you with a criminal conviction. It will stay on your record for years before it can be expunged. And it will show up a background check.

Plead Guilty to a Downgraded Charge

This is one aspect of plea bargaining. Instead of admitting that you committed obstruction of justice, we will work out a deal with the prosecutor where you plea guilty to a lesser offense.

Go To Trial & Get Acquitted

This means that a judge or jury listened to all of the evidence & decided that you are not guilty of committing obstruction of justice.

Go To Trial & Get Convicted

This means that the judge listened to all of the evidence & decided that you did commit obstruction of justice.

Obstruction of Jutice & Companion Charges

Obstruction of justice charges are probably not the only charges you got. You probably got charged with resisting arrest & assault. Frequently, these charges arise when the police make the decision to arrest you. As they take out their handcuffs & reality sets in, most people panic. The result is that you refuse to be handcuffed and you either push or wrestle with the police. We understand that getting arrested can be a traumatizing & humiliating experience but when you resist, you make matters worse.

Anytime you push a police officer, you will face aggravated assault charges. Since police officers are members of a protected class, a simple assault against a police officer automatically becomes aggravated assault.

The best thing to do when getting arrested is to accept your fate and wait for your day in court. We will fight your charges & help you every step of the way.

Obstruction of Justice - Legal Defenses

Legal defenses to obstruction of justice charges will vary according to the facts of your case. This type of crime is fact-sensitive & much depends on the evidence against you.

Obstruction of Justice Defenses include

1. Your Right To Remain Silent
This defense boils down to “I do not want to answer any questions until I speak with my lawyer”. You have a constitutional right against self-incrimination. You cannot get convicted of obstruction of justice for asserting your right to remain silent. This is one of the most sacred rights in our land.

2. The Police Did Not Identify Themselves –
You cannot be convicted of obstruction of justice for lying to the police if you did not have knowledge that the person you were speaking to was a police officer. Plain-clothes officers must show you their badge & identify themselves. It makes sense that if the police officer was not wearing his uniform & did not show identification, then there was no way that you could’ve known that you were speaking to law enforcement.

3. Your Actions Were Not Purposeful – 
Under NJ’s obstruction of justice law, you must have intended your actions. For example, if you are charged with obstruction of justice because the police claim that you blocked their entrance into a building, then they must show that your action of blocking the entrance was exactly what you intended. If you happened to be in a building’s entrance at the time that the police stormed the building, then we would argue that your actions were not purposeful. Again, every case is unique & it is important to meet with us to discuss the facts of your case.

Can An Obstruction of Justice Conviction get Expunged?

If you plead guilty or are found guilty of obstruction of justice, you can expunge the arrest and conviction after five years.

If you are acquitted at trial, you will not have a conviction. However, you will need to expunge the “arrest” record.

If you use the Conditional Dismissal program, you will need to wait one year to expunge your arrest record.

It is extremely important to expunge the record of your obstruction of justice arrest because this will pop up on any & all background checks.

If I'm convicted at trial, can I appeal?

Yes. If you decide to take your obstruction of justice case to trial and lose, you have the right to appeal.

Although appeals can be expensive, it’s definitely worth the money to try.
If you feel that you didn’t get a fair trial or that certain evidence was irrelevant or missing, an appeal is a way to go.
We highly recommend that you hire an aggressive, criminal lawyer to represent you for your appeal.
There are specific steps that must be taken to (intelligently) file an appeal.
Please do not try to do this alone, get help!

Our Experience

You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

Our Practice Areas

Below, you will find a few of our practice areas.

Areas We Serve

Our Hackensack criminal lawyers represent clients in Bergen County & nearby counties & cities. 

Get Help With Your Case

How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

What our clients say about us

Peyrouton Law
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Christopher Guichardo
Christopher Guichardo
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Alan is an excellent lawyer. He helped me with my first case. He is very knowledgeable and explained everything to me throughout the process. I would recommend him to anyone looking for an honest and professional lawyer.
LGL Trucking Services LLC
LGL Trucking Services LLC
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Attorney Alan Peyrouton , hasta el día de hoy podría decir que es el mejor abogado que he visto y he conocido , nos ayudó con un caso que pensamos que iba a ser perdido , pensamos que era imposible conseguir ganarlo pero el nos ayudó a ganar un caso de DWI con licencia comercial CDL , estamos muy agradecidos con Alan en verdad un abogado muy profesional y con muchos conocimientos . Lo recomiendo a cualquiera que necesite ayuda profesional .
Ludimila Araujo
Ludimila Araujo
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My experience with Alan was amazing, I only have positive thinks to mention about him, he knows the law by heart, he speak Spanish, he’s more than smart, he’s a really good human being , he’s really polite, he’s responsible and dedicated to all his clients.My husbands case was really delicate, we were really afraid he would lose his license for a year, which is how we eat, since his a cdl driver, but thanks to Alan we can breathe and sleep peaceful at night, Alan is so good at his job that he got his case dismissed.His better than the lawyer from SUITS, he’s real!Thank you Alan you are amazing, the best of the best!If anyone needs a lawyer, a good lawyer call Alan!
Denisa Gjana
Denisa Gjana
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Alan is an excellent attorney, empathic and also caring. If you are looking for an attorney who is knowledgeable and knows what he is doing then don’t hesitate and hire him. His prices are reasonable and affordable. He got me out of the legal situation which was very stressful for me and I can’t thank him enough. He explained things thoroughly to me a few times and answered all of the questions and concerns I had. I highly recommend him! Thank you for being responsive and helpful Alan.
Cnidia Vazquez
Cnidia Vazquez
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Very profesional, makes the right questions during court.Muy profesional, meticuloso, amable, paciente e inteligente. Hizo un trabajo excepcional, el caso salio a mi favor gracias a su dedicacion y amor a su trabajo. Estoy muy agradecida por lo que hizo! Lo recomiendo 100%
Ronald Yee
Ronald Yee
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After almost four years ago, Payrouton Law, LLC. was engaged to defend the writer against a serious legal issue which could have ended with incarceration as well as a hefty fine. The settlementwas one-half of the posted fine without incarceration! In additionit was advised that within two years of the court decree, proceedings to get "Expungement," was possible making clean all N.J. State Police Records, as if the incident Never Happened.All this time working for and on my behalf, this law firm labored and negotiated all proceedings to gain benefit of a clean record.The N.J. State Police took almost two years and now receiving a verbal communication confirming Records Finally Expunged is all due to the hard work and legal expertise of Payrouton Law.One can not go wrong by retaining Payrouton Law, LLC. to solve legal problems and issues.This law firm is Exceedingly Outstanding In Every Way!!Thank you for all your hard work and efforts for and onmy behalf!!!Respectfully submitted,Ronald Yee- Client.
Maria Feliz
Maria Feliz
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Alan really helped me out of a delicate situation and made sure the final outcome was in my favor. I choose him based on prior reviews and took a chance and he turned out to be the real thing always looking out for his clients.
Jazziel Lopez
Jazziel Lopez
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Excellent lawyer , Alan was by far great help with my case. Thank you for being so responsive to my self and my fiancée when we needed help the most. He sure helped me solve my case I highly recommend Alan Payruton. The best of the best .
Michelle Lainez
Michelle Lainez
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Amazing lawyer, I am thankful and grateful for Alan words can’t explain how he help me and my finance at our most desperate moment. He made sure that we could count on him and assured us that he would make thing better which he did!!!I 💯 recommend him he will not let you down. Alan once again thank you for everything you have been a blessing!
Kyle Haller
Kyle Haller
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Alan was by far the most effective and professional lawyer i have ever delt with. He is extremely responsive and effective in conversation. It was a pleasure choosing him to defend me and I would recommend him to all my family and friends.
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