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Obstruction of Justice in Georgia is a broad legal term that covers several different types of criminal behavior. One of the most common types of obstruction cases involves suspects resisting arrest. Obstruction is committed when someone placed under arrest either flees the scene of an allege crime or aggressively fights back when placed under arrest. In Georgia, obstruction of justice can lead to serious charges that culminate in spending time behind bars.

The negative ramifications of an obstruction of justice charge include a felony conviction that remains on your record for the rest of your life. A felony conviction will severely hamper your career by making you look like a high risk job candidate. Felony convictions show up on background checks, which means you will also face a difficult time securing a place to live, as well as trying to build a healthy credit history.

If you face an obstruction of justice charge, you must treat the charge with a sense of urgency by contacting the Georgia licensed criminal defense lawyers at Garland Law Group. Our team of obstruction of justice specialists will sit down with you during the initial free consultation to determine the best course of legal action. We understand how to use one or more defenses to ensure your record is not tainted by an obstruction of justice conviction.

Two Types of Obstruction Convictions in Georgia

Georgia law offers prosecutors two types of obstruction convictions: felony and misdemeanor. According to Georgia Penal Code O.C.G.A. §16-10-24(a), a misdemeanor conviction for obstruction of justice occurs when “A person will be guilty of violating when they knowingly or willfully obstruct or hinder any law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties.” Georgia permits a jail sentence of no more than one year and/or a fine up to $1,000 for an obstruction misdemeanor conviction.

Georgia Penal Code O.C.G.A. §16-10-24(b) clearly defines a felony obstruction of justice conviction: “A person can be convicted of felony obstruction when they knowingly and willfully resist, obstruct, or oppose any law enforcement officer, prison guard, correctional officer, community supervision officer, probation officer, or conservation officer in the lawful discharge of his or her official duties by offering or doing violence to the person.” Resisting arrest typically falls under the felony category conviction for an obstruction charge. A felony conviction for obstruction can result in jail time between one and five years and/or a minimum fine of $300.

Types of Obstruction Cases

In addition to resisting arrest, there are other types of obstruction cases that involve one or more people interfering with a law enforcement officer.

Giving False Information

Misleading investigators in a criminal case is a classic type of obstruction. Lying by writing untrue answers for interrogatories is one example of obstruction by misleading. Other examples of misleading include giving false information to law enforcement officers and falsifying documents that include sworn statements made during depositions. Perjury committed during a legal proceeding is also considered giving false information.

Tampering with Evidence

One of the most effective ways to interfere in a criminal case involves tampering with evidence. Tampering can include hiding physical evidence and tainting blood samples with the blood of another person. Prosecutors have the power to upgrade a misdemeanor obstruction charge to a felony obstruction charge in cases when tampering with evidence led to a wrong conviction.

Aiding and Abetting a Suspect

Hiding a suspect is a classic example of aiding a suspect. However, law enforcement can obstruction charges on defendants that lie about the whereabouts of a suspect, as well as claiming the suspect in question is deceased. Warning someone about the intentions of law enforcement also constitutes obstruction in the State of Georgia.

Obstruction of Justice and the 5th Amendment

You have the right to plead the 5th Amendment and not have to deal with an obstruction of justice charge. The 5th Amendment clearly grants American citizens the right to refuse saying anything that might incriminate them in a criminal case. If you face an obstruction charge in Georgia and the charge is related to you pleading the 5th Amendment, you should move swiftly by contacting Garland Law Group to ensure the charge is revoked by the appropriate law enforcement agency.

How We Defend Obstruction of Justice Cases

Another tool our clients have when facing obstruction charges refers to invoking the probable cause right granted by the United States Constitution. Law enforcement officers must have probable cause to stop a person and question him or her. If you were arrest for obstruction, but the arresting officer did not have probable cause to stop you, then our team of obstruction lawyers will present the lack of probable cause defense on your behalf.

Here are the other possible defenses we use for obstruction of justice cases:

  • Innocence

  • Lack of evidence

  • Lack of intent

  • Unlawful discharge of law enforcement duties

Georgia law requires prosecutors to prove a suspect had intent when obstructing justice. This is a gray legal area that our highly skilled attorneys can use to plant the seed of reasonable doubt. As in every other state, criminal guilt must be proven “Beyond a reasonable doubt” in Georgia. Lacking proof of intent will dramatically hurt the prosecution’s case.

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