28 Jun What Is Obstruction of Justice in Tennessee
You’re probably familiar with the term obstruction of justice, but do you actually know what it means?
Cornell Law School defines obstruction of justice as:
Obstruction of Justice is a serious offense that can damage your record and your reputation. In Tennessee, a person may be convicted of the crime of Obstruction of Justice if the state prosecutor proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the person:
1. Intentionally prevented or obstructed;
2. Anyone known to the person to be a law enforcement officer;
3. Or anyone acting in a law enforcement officer’s presence and at the officer’s direction;
4. From effecting a stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search of any person, including the defendant;
5. By using force against the law enforcement officer or another.
Penal Code § 39-16-602
In Tennessee, you can be charged with obstruction of justice on a federal level and on the state level. Tennessee has an obstruction of justice penal code § 39-16-602. Under Tennessee law, the crime of Obstruction of Justice is a Class B Misdemeanor and may result in some or all of the following consequences:
However, if the defendant used a deadly weapon to resist the stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search, then the crime is elevated to a Class A Misdemeanor and may result in some or all of the following consequences:
Examples Of Crimes Considered Obstruction Of Justice
Examples of Tennessee laws that could be considered obstruction of justice crimes include the following:
- Destroying evidence
- Offering false evidence
- Preparing false evidence
- Resisting arrest/obstructing a police officer
- Tampering or intimidating witnesses
These crimes are wobblers which means you could be charged and convicted with either a misdemeanor or a felony. How you are charged depends on whether you obstructed a felony or misdemeanor case. For example, if you simply provided false information on a relatively minor car accident, you’ll likely only face misdemeanor offering false evidence charges. However, if you’re caught misdirecting the police in a murder investigation, you’ll likely face felony charges.
Examples Of Federal Level Crimes
Examples of obstruction of justice charges that are dealt with at a federal level include:
- Destruction of corporate audit reports
- Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy proceedings
- Obstruction of Congressional and Agency Proceedings
- Obstructing a criminal investigation
- Obstruction of Jurors and Court Officers
- Obstructing Witnesses and Evidence
- Retaliating against a judge or federal officer by false claim or slander of title
The most extreme sentence for a federal obstruction of justice conviction is a fine and/or up to 20 years in federal prison.