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Under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1, obstructing the administration of law involves 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 examples include:
Obstruction of Justice charges can be graded as either a Disorderly Persons Offenses (misdemeanor) or an Indictable Offense (felony).
If the crime is charged as a Disorderly Persons offense.
If the crime is more serious, it will be charged as a Fourth-degree crime.
If you are convicted of a Disorderly Persons offense, it will stay on your record for 5 years before it will be eligible for expungement.
If you are convicted of a Felony, it will stay on your record for 10 years before it will be eligible for expungement.
An expungement is the legal process where you can get your criminal record erased.
N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1 provides:
A person commits an offense if he purposely obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle, or by means of any independently unlawful act.
This section does not apply to failure to perform a legal duty other than an official duty, or any other means of avoiding compliance with law without affirmative interference with governmental functions.
An offense under this section is a crime of the fourth degree if the actor obstructs the detection or investigation of a crime or the prosecution of a person for a crime, otherwise it is a disorderly persons offense.
This is a very common question.
There is no easy answer.
The law says that you have to commit some type of “physical” action that “interferes” with a police officer’s performance.
However, the law also says that a “threat” can be enough to interfere.
For example, if you threaten a police officer with your “words” in such a way that he/she cannot perform their job, you may face Obstruction of Justice charge. If you’re in this situation, call us. We’re here to help!
In New Jersey, these two phrases or terms are interchangeable.
We call these three charges: The Triplets
All of these charges arise from the way you interacted with the police officer. If you try to run (eluding) from the police, then you are “interfering” with a police officer’s job.
If you refuse to be handcuffed, then you are also “interfering? with the police officer’s job.
Starting to see a pattern here?
Every Obstruction of Justice case is fact-sensitive.
This means that your case will be completely unique.
We need to meet with you and hear your story.
Here are some of the questions we will ask you:
Remember, a police officer has a very dangerous job.
He or she needs to make split-second decisions under extreme pressure.
If a police officer begins to place handcuffs on you, be patient, you’ll get your day in court.
You just create more problems for yourself when you argue with or insult a police officer.
And never push a police officer!
If you do, you’ll be facing Aggravated Assault charges.