Knowingly lying to a police officer or being uncooperative during the course of an investigation can be a serious criminal offense in New Jersey known as obstructing the administration of justice. Common examples of this can be giving a police officer a false name, interfering with an arrest, or even providing a fake ID or misleading information. New Jersey takes obstruction of administration of law very seriously and the charge can quickly be elevated from a disorderly persons offense to an indictable felony crime. At Proetta & Oliver, we have represented clients against thousands of criminal and municipal court charges including obstruction of justice and related crimes such as hindering apprehension and resisting arrest. We defend clients throughout Hudson County, New Jersey including Kearny, Bloomfield, Jersey City, Union City, Weehawken, and Bayonne. Our law firm prides itself on providing top quality criminal and municipal court defense. We are typically able to work with the prosecutor to help secure a downgrade of your charges or even a dismissal altogether. If you would like to have a free initial consultation with an experienced criminal lawyer then contact our Jersey City office at (201) 793-8018.
2C:29-1 New Jersey Obstructing the Administration of Justice
The New Jersey statute for obstructing the administration of justice is provided below, in pertinent part, for your reading convenience.
§ 2C:29-1 Obstructing administration of law or other government function
a. 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.
b. 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.
Examples of Obstructing the Law in NJ
Many different actions that interfere with a police officer’s ability to do his or her job, or obstruct a criminal investigation or prosecution, could constitute obstructing the administration of law. First, if you flee from a police officer when they are trying to pull you over, question you, or arrest you, you are purposely preventing the officer from performing their legal or official duty and can be charged with obstructing the administration of law. You can also be charged with this offense if you do something to intimidate an officer or impair their ability to perform their duties, like point a weapon at them. Note that New Jersey courts have ruled that words alone are usually insufficient to stop a police officer from performing his job duties.
If you use force or violence to obstruct a police officer’s ability to arrest you or arrest someone else, you are obstructing the administration of law. This can include physically assaulting an officer or even damaging their police vehicle in an attempt to obstruct the officer’s ability to pursue you or otherwise carry out their legal duties. Creating some sort of physical interference or obstacle can also constitute obstructing the administration of law, even if it does not involve violence. Examples of this include hiding evidence, destroying evidence, or setting up a blockade to prevent an officer from moving through a path.
It is important to note that obstruction charges may be accompanied by other criminal charges if the incident involves conduct such as an attempt to flee or an assault.
Hoboken NJ Obstruction Charge Lawyer
As mentioned in the above statute, you will be charged with obstruction if you interfere with official police duty. Moreover, obstruction of the administration of justice is normally graded as a disorderly persons offense but will be upgraded to a forth degree indictable offense if you interfere with an investigation or prosecution. The most important distinction is that fourth degree charges are heard at the County Superior Court and are punishable by up to 18 months in prison, while disorderly persons offenses are normally heard in municipal court with a maximum punishment of up to 6 months in county jail. In either scenario, a conviction for obstructing the administration of law will appear on your criminal record. At Proetta & Oliver, we represent clients throughout Hudson County and surrounding areas including Secaucus, Harrison, Newark, Montclair, West New York, Belleville, Guttenberg, and Nutley. For additional information on your criminal charges, contact our Jersey City office anytime for a free initial consultation at (201) 793-8018.
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