Obstructing the Administration of Law

Warren NJ Obstruction Attorney

When someone allegedly interferes or obstructs a police investigation in Warren or anywhere else in Somerset County, they face the possibility of being charged with obstructing the administration of law. A conviction for obstructing results in a criminal record that will follow you around for years. It also opens the door for a judge at the Somerville Superior Court or even a municipal court like the one in Watchung, Bedminister, Franklin, Montgomery or Hillsborough to impose significant fines and even send you to jail. Our attorneys are former prosecutors who know how to effectively defend a obstruction charge. We have been helping individuals like you avoid the consequences of this offense for many years now and are prepared to persuasively present your best case in court. To discuss the facts and circumstances of your charge with a lawyer on our staff, call our Bridgewater criminal defense office today at 908-722-1011.

Charged with Obstruction in Somerset County NJ

The cornerstone of the obstruction law contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1 is to outlaw behavior that is intended to impede government operations, principally those of the police. The key here is not only obstructive conduct but also the purpose to obstruct, impair or pervert the orderly function of law enforcement. The statute also prohibits someone from preventing or attempting to prevent a public servant from performing their duties by engaging in “flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle”. Classic examples of this violation include impersonating a person to avoid arrest, providing police with inaccurate information to obstruct an investigation, physically preventing performance of a routine pat down and running from police when you have been ordered to stop. Refusing to open the door to your house or apartment is not, however, obstruction absent a valid warrant as there is no duty to cooperate with police only to refrain from conduct that obstructs.

There are three (3) elements that must be established in order to prove someone guilty of obstructing. The first thing that must be proven, beyond reasonable doubt, is that the accused either obstructed, impaired or perverted the administration of law or governmental function or prevented or attempted to prevent a public employee from performing an official function. The second requirement is that that aforesaid conduct be for the purpose to obstruct or prevent government function (e.g. investigation). The third and final element that the prosecutor must establish is that the defendant used intimidation, force, violence or physical interference to accomplish the obstruction of law.

A charge brought in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1 can come in one of two grades of severity. If the obstruction involves investigation or detection of a crime (e.g. fourth degree, third degree, second degree or first degree crime) then the violation is a fourth degree crime. In all other instances, obstructing or hindering is a disorderly persons offense. Fourth degree obstructing carries a fine of up to $7,500 and a maximum prison sentence of 18 months. A disorderly persons offense for obstructing results in up to a $1,000 fine and six (6) months in the county jail.

Branchburg Obstructing Offense Lawyers

The police in Branchburg, much like any other, do not take kindly to behavior that they believe is interfering with their efforts to investigate an offense. So whether its the result of obstruction associated with a motor vehicle stop, your running from police, or providing false information, they get extremely annoyed. This often translates into a lack of willingness to downgrade a charge and this is a primary reason why it is crucial to have a seasoned attorney handle your case. The lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall make up one of the largest and most experienced defense teams in Somerset County and the state. If you are facing an obstruction charge in Bridgewater, North Plainfield, Bernards, Manville or Green Brook, our Somerset County obstruction lawyers are equipped to successfully defend your case. Call us 24/7 at 908-722-1011 for an immediate free consultation.