Articles Tagged with obstruction of justice

Gallaecia_petrea_02-57c-200x300The lack of clarity about the law on obstruction of justice (and the significant leeway that is afforded the law enforcement agencies) make this one of the most controversial areas of legal practice. Those misgivings notwithstanding, a charge of this nature brings serious consequences. Quite often defendants are caught off guard because they imagine that trivial instances of Disorderly Conduct are nothing more than being obnoxious. Later on they discover that they are facing a daunting rap sheet. At other times the obstruction appears to be relatively innocuous. A case in point is the provision of false information either after being prompted or without being prompted following a traffic incident.

The Rationale for the Law and Administrative Provisions

Currently the law is listed under the provisions of legislative instrument number 720 ILCS 5/31-4. This is a felony and that has implications for the charging process. The prosecutor has two choices. The first option is to use information while the second is known as an indictment. The defense attorney must have exceptional skills and knowledge about the law as well as its practice in order to defend any of these routes adopted by the prosecutor.

Chicago_police_car_horizThe mantra to let the law take its course seems like a platitude when faced with a serious criminal investigation. Each party will have their own interests and will fight to protect them. For example the prosecutor will want the defendant to come across as the worst thing that has happened to the world. On the other hand, the defending attorney will want to portray his or her client as a hapless victim or a well-meaning interventionist. The public may want their pound of flesh from the trial, including the entertainment value. However, in the cool environment of a courtroom, it is the law that takes precedence. In this article we consider the offense of obstructing justice in Chicago as described in 720 ILCS 5/31-4.

Getting in the Way of the Investigation is a Crime in Chicago

The law on obstruction of justice in Chicago is borne out of a concern that defendants and their accomplices will try to make it difficult to undertake prosecutions. They can do this in a number of ways which involve omission and commission. In the worst case scenarios, there is witness intimidation which is an altogether different and sometimes even more serious offense in Chicago. Obstruction is a felony even if it encompasses quite a wide variety of behavior. This may include false testimony, concealment of essential information, and destroying or disguising physical evidence. Typically, there are two avenues opening for charging someone for these offenses. The first one is known as information while the second is known as indictment.