Obstructing Legal Process Attorneys
If you are charged with obstructing legal process, arrest, or firefighting, you should immediately hire a respected, yet aggressive, Minnesota obstructing legal process lawyer. This is a very serious charge - it could even be a felony - and carries with it lasting consequences. The negative implications that come from this charge cause many prosecutors to not be willing to negotiate down from it. Do not delay and contact us immediately.
Obstructing Legal Process Defined
Minn. Stat. 609.50 defines the crime broadly. It includes the following intentional acts:
- Obstructing, hindering, or preventing the lawful execution of any legal process - civil or criminal - or apprehension of another on a charge or conviction of a criminal offense;
- Obstructing, resisting, or interfering with a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the performance of official duties;
- Interfering with or obstructing a firefighter while the firefighter is engaged in the performance of official duties;
- Interfering with or obstructing a member of an ambulance service personnel crew, as defined in section 144E.001, subdivision 3a, who is providing, or attempting to provide, emergency care; or
- By force or threat of force, attempting to obstruct any employee of the Department of Revenue while the employee is lawfully engaged in the performance of official duties for the purpose of deterring or interfering with the performance of those duties.
Rather vague, isn't it? By being so vague, it gives greater leeway to an overzealous prosecutor to wrongfully charge this crime to acts that do not constitute obstructing legal process. Mr. Adkins was interviewed by channel 5 news on such a situation.
Obstructing Legal Process Penalties
As if an overbroad definition wasn't penal enough, this crime can be charged as a felony, gross misdemeanor, or misdemeanor.
- Felony - If the person (i) knew or had reason to know that the act created a risk of death, substantial bodily harm, or serious property damage; or (ii) the act caused death, substantial bodily harm, or serious property damage, then it is a felony and the person faces up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of $10,000.
- Gross Misdemeanor - If the act was accompanied by force or violence, or the threat of the same, and is not otherwise covered under the felony definition, the person faces a year in jail and/or a fine of $3,000.
- Misdemeanor - All other cases are subject to misdemeanor penalties - 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $1,000.
In addition to possible jail time and a significant fine, persons convicted of or pleading guilty to this offense may be required to complete anger management programming or even write an apology to the officer, among other conditions.
Obstructing Legal Process Defenses
As with any charge that requires the proof of intent, mere negligent acts are insufficient to prove this charge. Similarly, a recent court of appeals case held that the person must actually obstruct or hinder the officer performing legal process, and simply general interference with that act is insufficient. And not answering an officer's request to identify yourself - out of the blue - is not enough ground for bringing this charge.
To see just how successful our approach is, here are some representative case results:
Charges: Obstructing legal process and License Plate Fraud
Resolution: Continuance for Dismissal. This matter was resolved by a continuance for dismissal, that in early negotiations was termed "impossible" to achieve. Hard work by Mr. Adkins, and careful avoidance of additional silly decision-making by a wise and creative client, meant the impossible became par for the course. This matter also exemplifies the importance of a client participating meaningfully in the process; his videotape evidence was essential in moving a prosecutor from leery to sympathetic.
Charges: Obstructing Legal Process
Resolution: Case was dismissed. Client has a clean criminal record, which was imperative to maintain in order for him to continue volunteering with his kids extra-curricular activities. The initial offer - a stay of adjudication, which would have resulted in a dismissal - was authorized to be accepted by the client. Still, Mr. Gempeler knew that the right approach to pushing the City Attorney could lead to a better result. After further negotiations and discussions, the City Attorney agreed that there was no merit for the charge.
Charges: Obstructing Legal Process
Resolution: Continuance for Dismissal - 6 mo. and costs of only $100. Typically, city prosecutors are reluctant to make reasonable offers on this type of charge. Mr. Gempeler was aggressive in asserting that the charges were trumped up. Short of a contested hearing, the prosecutor agreed that a continuance for dismissal for a short six months was appropriate. The client simply couldn't turn this offer down because it got the result deserved and desired - a dismissal. In addition, there is a mutual understanding that the client will get an expungement after the six months. A terrific result for a young and deserving client.
Schedule a Consultation
A record of an obstructing legal process conviction - even if it's just a misdemeanor - is often considered a major red flag by prospective employers and landlords. The bottom line is that this record will negatively impact your future. It is critical to hire a Minnesota obstructing legal process attorney now. Contact North Star Criminal Defense and discuss your case with Dan Adkins or James Gempeler in complete confidence.