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  • Writer's pictureBrandon Hicks

Protecting Your Rights: Understanding Indiana's Obstruction of Justice Laws 35-44.1-2-2


When facing a criminal charge, it is essential to have a knowledgeable and experienced legal team by your side. B. Hicks Law is here to help you understand Indiana's criminal laws and provide you with the defense you need. In this blog post, we'll delve into one specific aspect of Indiana's criminal code: Obstruction of Justice, as defined in IC 35-44.1-2-2.


What is Obstruction of Justice in Indiana?

Obstruction of justice is a serious offense under Indiana law. This offense is defined in IC 35-44.1-2-2, and it involves various actions that hinder the proper functioning of the legal system, investigations, and legal proceedings. The law outlines several scenarios where a person can be charged with obstruction of justice:

1. Inducing Witnesses or Informants

A person can be charged with obstruction of justice if they knowingly or intentionally induce a witness or informant to withhold or delay producing testimony, information, documents, or other evidence they are legally required to provide. This includes threats, coercion, false statements, or offers of goods, services, or anything of value.

2. Obstructing Legal Proceedings or Investigations

Obstructing justice can also involve actions within legal proceedings or investigations. This includes knowingly or intentionally withholding or delaying testimony, information, documents, or other evidence after a court orders their production, avoiding legal process, or failing to appear when legally summoned.

3. Altering or Damaging Evidence

If someone alters, damages, or removes any record, document, or evidence with the intent to prevent it from being used in legal proceedings or investigations, they can be charged with obstruction of justice.

4. Presenting False Evidence

Presenting or using false records, documents, or evidence to mislead a public servant in a legal proceeding or investigation can lead to obstruction of justice charges.

5. Improper Communication with Jurors

Communicating with a juror outside the bounds of the law with the intent to influence their decisions on matters within or potentially coming before the jury can result in obstruction of justice charges.

6. Notifying Subjects of Warrants

An employee of a court or law enforcement agency who notifies the subject of a warrant with the intent to interfere with its execution can be charged with obstruction of justice.


Levels of Offense

The severity of the offense depends on the circumstances. In most cases, obstruction of justice is considered a Level 6 felony. However, it can be elevated to a Level 5 felony if the obstruction occurs during the investigation or pendency of a domestic violence or child abuse case. This includes offering benefits, communicating threats, or intimidating witnesses related to such cases.


Exceptions

Indiana law provides exceptions for certain individuals in their professional or official duties. Attorneys, investigators, law enforcement officers, and judges engaged in their respective roles are not subject to prosecution under this statute.


Seek Legal Guidance from B. Hicks Law

If you're facing obstruction of justice charges or any other criminal allegations, it's crucial to consult with experienced criminal defense attorneys like those at B. Hicks Law. We have the expertise to help you navigate Indiana's complex legal landscape and protect your rights.

Don't let legal challenges overwhelm you. Contact B. Hicks Law today to discuss your case and ensure that your rights are safeguarded throughout the legal process. Our team is dedicated to providing the best defense possible for our clients.

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