Obstruction of Justice in Texas

Obstruction of Justice is when someone does something to get in the way of the legal system, and it’s a very serious thing with big legal consequences. That’s why it’s really important to know the laws, defenses, and punishments for it.

People occasionally attempt to disrupt the legal system’s orderly operation. That is why obstruction charges exist. Texas takes its court system seriously and penalizes those who disrupt legal sessions.

The legal system, particularly in Texas, is constantly striving to become more efficient. Its main job is to make sure crime victims get justice as quickly as possible. However, this can be challenging as there are individuals who attempt to hinder its operations.

Defining Obstruction of Justice in Texas

Obstruction means intentionally blocking or delaying someone else’s actions, like a public official, witness, law enforcement, investigations, or legal processes. It can take many forms, but it must involve causing harm or threatening harm, which doesn’t have to be physical; it just has to be illegal.

Obstruction of justice is a frequent felony in both state and federal law. When it happens federally, the consequences are serious, often leading to lengthy prison terms upon conviction.

Types of Obstruction of Justice

Witness Tampering (Texas Penal Code § 36.05):

Witness tampering charges happen when someone tries to influence or intimidate a witness in a legal case. This is done in order to prevent the witness from telling the truth or changing their statement. This includes actions such as threatening witnesses or offering bribes.

Tampering with Evidence (Texas Penal Code § 37.09):

Tampering with evidence involves altering, destroying, or concealing physical evidence with the intent to impair its availability for an official proceeding. This can include hiding or disposing of evidence related to a crime.

Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution (Texas Penal Code § 38.05):

You can be charged for hindering the arrest or punishment of a suspect if you help or hide them.

Obstruction of a Police Officer (Texas Penal Code § 38.15):

This charge can happen if you resist arrest, obstruct an officer’s duties, or use force against a law enforcement officer.

Interfering with Public Duties (Texas Penal Code § 38.16):

This charge can be applied if someone intentionally obstructs or hinders a public servant. Examples of public servants include police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. The charge applies when the obstruction or hindrance occurs while the public servant is performing their job duties.

Obstruction of Justice in Federal Cases:

Individuals can be charged with obstructing federal investigations or proceedings, in addition to state charges, under federal law.

Fines and Penalties for Obstructing Justice

Class C Misdemeanor

  • Fine up to $500
  • Sample Act: Providing false information to a police officer during a routine traffic stop when asked for identification.

Misdemeanor of Class B

  • Jail Time up to 180 days
  • Fine up to $2,000
  • Sample Act: Resisting arrest without using physical force against a police officer.

Misdemeanor Class A

  • Jail Time up to 1 year
  • Fine up to $4,000
  • Sample Act: Hindering a firefighter or paramedic from attending to an urgent situation. 

State Jail Felony:

  • Jail Time up to 180 days to 2 years
  • Fine up to $10,000
  • Sample Act: Tampering with evidence related to a non-violent drug possession case.

 Third-Degree Felony

  • Jail Time up to 2 to 10 years
  • Fine up to $10,000
  • Sample Act: Witness tampering in a case involving theft or property damage.

Second-Degree Felony

  • Jail Time up to 2 to 20 years
  • Fine up to $10,000
  • Sample Act: Providing false information or false alibis in a murder investigation.

First-Degree Felony

  • Jail Time up to 5 years of life
  • Fine up to $10,000
  • Sample Act: Aiding an escapee in order to obstruct capture or prosecution in a capital murder case.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

If you’re charged with obstruction of justice charges or any other criminal accusations in Texas, take proactive steps by engaging an experienced criminal attorney without delay.

The Texas Criminal Defense Group will review your case. They will analyze the charges and create a strong legal defense plan. This plan will be tailored to fit your specific situation. Our team will also engage in negotiations with the prosecution on your behalf, staunchly advocating for your rights in court.

Additionally, we will furnish you with insights into potential consequences stemming from a conviction, which may encompass jail time, fines, and other penalties. Overall, the criminal justice system can be intricate and intimidating, but with a skilled criminal defense lawyer by your side, you can significantly enhance your case’s outcome. Your attorney will help you navigate the legal process, clarify your options, and offer guidance and support. They will also aid in assessing evidence against you, preparing witness statements, and investigating any mitigating factors.