Criminal Law

Crimes Against the Justice System

A "crime against the justice system" is any offense that interferes with the smooth operation of this system, essential to protecting the rights under law of all U.S. residents. For the most serious crimes against the federal and state justice systems, severe penalties are imposed. These crimes may be directed against courts, prosecutors, police officers, and government agencies.

Interfering With Police Duties

Interfering with police duties can take many forms. Fleeing a police officer is considered a crime against justice. You can also be charged with a crime if you give a police officer a false name or present a false ID card, even if you are not guilty of the crime the officer is investigating. Filing a false police report, reporting a crime that never happened, and calling the police to someone's home as a prank can also be prosecuted as crimes against justice.

Defying a Court Order

Contempt of court is not always a criminal offense but, when it is, it can be punished with fines and jail time. Contempt of court can occur inside or outside court. In the courtroom, you might commit contempt of court by cursing at the judge or disrupting the proceedings. Outside the courtroom, you can commit contempt of court by refusing to obey a court order to turn over evidence, for example, or by failing to appear as a witness.

Disruption of the Justice Process

There are many different ways to disrupt the justice process. Perjury, which is the legal term for lying under oath, can be punished with jail time. In fact, if you commit perjury in a murder case, you could receive a life sentence. You may be guilty of "jury tampering" if you make out-of-court contact with someone on the jury that will decide your case, especially if you make threats or offer money. Encouraging a witness to lie under oath is known as "subornation of perjury," and this is a serious crime as well.

Public Officials Can Commit Crimes Against the Justice System

A public official can be charged with a crime against justice when the official acts in a corrupt manner, such as requesting or accepting a bribe in exchange for favors. A police officer who arrests a suspect and unreasonably delays taking the suspect before a judge commits a crime against justice. You can be charged with these types of offenses even if you are not a public official - but pretending to be one.

A Criminal Lawyer Can Help

The law surrounding crimes against the justice system is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. We hope you found it useful. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a criminal lawyer.

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