You cannot legally prevent a police officer or the court from doing their job enforce the law and bring guilty individuals to justice. An attempt to keep justice from being served or to delay or inhibit the criminal justice process is known as an obstruction of justice, and this is a criminal offense in itself.
If you are charged with obstructing justice in any way, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced Appleton criminal defense lawyer to fight the charge. The right legal defense strategy could result in your charge being downgraded or even dismissed, keeping a conviction off your record and sparing you from the fines, jail time, and other penalties you face. Work with a lawyer who has experience with the court handling your case, which is the Winnebago County circuit court for all arrests made in Neenah.
Do not confuse your Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination during a criminal investigation with obstruction of justice. You can remain silent during police questioning and you can refuse to answer any question that has the potential to jeopardize your own ongoing criminal investigation or put you in a position where you could be investigated.
Examples of acts that may be deemed obstructions of justice include:
At its most basic level, obstruction of justice is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for a Class A misdemeanor conviction in Wisconsin include:
Obstruction of justice can also be charged as a Class G, Class H, or Class I felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident.
When the following allegedly occurred, an individual may be charged with a Class H felony:
The penalties for a Class H felony conviction are:
When an individual causes an officer to suffer a soft tissue injury or other substantial bodily harm in the transmission of false or misleading evidence, he or she may be charged with a Class G felony. The penalties for this charge include:
When an individual refuses to comply with a lawful attempt to take him or her into custody, retreats or remains in a specific area and through action or threat, attempt to avoid being taken into custody, and uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon to continue avoiding arrest, he or she may be charged with a Class I felony. The penalties for this conviction include:
Your lawyer can work with you to develop an effective defense strategy for your case. Your defense strategy might involve citing your Fifth Amendment right to refuse to provide self-incriminating information during questioning. It might instead hinge on your belief that the information you provided was true, and that you did not realize that the information you provided was inaccurate. It could also involve the simple lack of evidence to support a claim that you acted in a manner that intentionally obstructed justice or that although the obstruction occurred, you were not the individual who committed it.
If you are facing charges for obstructing in Wisconsin or any other criminal charge, be proactive and start working with an experienced criminal attorney today. Our team at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC has experience with both the Neenah municipal court and the Winnebago County circuit court and can help you defend your case against the charge. To start working with a member of our team, contact our office to schedule your initial legal consultation with us.