Obstruction of Justice Charges; Illinois Felony Defense
Have you been charged with obstruction of justice? Are you looking for help in proving that you didn’t intend to obstruct or interfere with justice? Obstruction of justice is a very serious federal crime, a felony under U.S. law and a crime under Illinois law as well. If the charge against you relates to a federal court proceeding or to the federal government, it’s a federal crime. If it involves state or local police then it will be a state crime. There are serious charges and you need an experienced Chicago Criminal Lawyer who handles Obstruction of Justice charges.
But you can also be charged for obstructing justice under state statutes. If your charge relates to an Illinois proceeding, it’s a state level crime.
Federal obstruction of justice charges include serious crimes such as:
- Obstructing or interfering with service of process;
- Notifying someone of a forthcoming subpoena;
- Tampering with or retaliating against a witness;
- Obstructing execution of a court order; and
- Demonstrating outside the residence of a judge, juror, or officer of the court.
In Illinois, obstruction of justice is also a felony offense. Obstruction of justice under Illinois law occurs when someone with the intent to prevent apprehension of a person or to obstruct the prosecution or defense of a person knowingly:
- Destroys, alters, conceals, or disguises physical evidence, plants false evidence, furnishes false information, or
- Induces a witness having material knowledge of the matter at issue in a State proceeding to conceal himself or leave the State of Illinois; or
- Conceals himself or leaves the State of Illinois when he himself possesses knowledge material to the matter at issue.
The Illinois offense of obstruction of justice is a Class 4 Felony punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. But if the act occurs to further gang activities (for instance, where a gang member tries to obstruct the prosecution of justice against another gang member), the charge becomes a Class 3 Felony. A Class 3 charge is punishable by up to 5 years in prison as well as a $25,000 fine.
While judges can choose to sentence a defendant to probation for a Class 4 Felony rather than to incarceration, a felony conviction can’t be expunged from your record. Your felony conviction will stay on your record to cause problems whenever you apply for jobs, housing, schooling, or loans.
Illinois also adds the crime of obstruction of identification to the broader category of obstruction of justice. This Class A misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $2,500, involves giving a false name, address, or date of birth to a peace officer conducting a lawful arrest, detention (including a traffic stop), or questioning of a witness.
Notice that whether the peace officer’s stop and questioning was lawful forms an element of the obstruction of identification charge. A dedicated and aggressive Chicago criminal lawyer would examine the issue of the lawfulness of the officer’s actions and assist you in how to proceed with your obstruction of justice charge in Illinois or Federal Court.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Contact Chicago criminal lawyer Michael P. Schmiege if you’ve been charged with obstruction of justice and you have questions about your case and what you can do to defend yourself. Interfering in a justice proceeding is a very serious crime that carries very serious penalties. You need an aggressive and intelligent Chicago criminal lawyer like Mr. Schmiege who’s experienced with obstruction of justice cases like yours and who will work aggressively to present a successful defense to the obstruction of justice crime with which you’ve been charged.
Reember, obstruction of justice is a crime that requires intent. To be convicted, the court must prove that you knowingly interfered with justice. The burden of proof is on the court to prove every element of its case. Hiring an experienced Chicago criminal lawyer right away who can expose the weaknesses of the prosecution’s case evidence is a smart move.
Contact Chicago Criminal Lawyer Michael P. Schmiege today for your free legal consultation to discuss your case.