Monday, December 16, 2019

WHAT IS OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IN ILLINOIS?

Two officers were chasing a suspect down an alley. The suspect happens to be your cousin. The officers asked you which way you he ran and you pointed them in the opposite direction.

Can you be charged with a crime? The answer is yes.

In Illinois, you can be charged with Obstructing Justice if you intend to prevent the apprehension or obstruct the prosecution or defense of any person (including yourself), and you knowingly:

  1. Destroy, alter, conceal or disguise physical evidence, plant false evidence, furnish false information;
  2. Induce a witness having knowledge material to the subject at issue to leave the State or conceal him or herself;
  3. Leave the State or conceal yourself when you possess knowledge material to the subject at issue;
  4. or
  5. Provide false information to officials during the investigation of the death or disappearance of a child and you are a parent, legal guardian, or caretaker of that child who is under 13 years of age.

Illinois appellate courts are divided on whether the law requires that providing false information result in a material impediment to the administration of justice. The Fifth District Court of Appeals says it does not, but the Second District says that it does. See People v. Casler, People v. Gordon and People V. Taylor. The defendants in all three cases gave false names to police.

Obstructing justice is a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison. If the obstruction is intended to further street gang-related activity, you may be instead charged with a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Do the police have probable cause to arrest you? Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if the police acted lawfully and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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