Obstruction of justice is a broad term that applies to any action that prevents an agent of the law (police officers, prosecutors, etc.) from doing their job (i.e. keeping the peace and enforcing the law). In Wisconsin, obstruction of justice laws are governed by Wisconsin statute 956.65.
Forms of Obstruction of Justice
Obstruction of justice can come in many forms. Here are some of the most common:
- Lying to a police officer by providing a false report
- Lying to any officer of any court, by providing false testimony in court, for example.
- Hiding or destroying evidence.
Basically, any action that hinders a government official from doing their job can be considered obstruction of justice.
Famous Cases of Obstruction of Justice
Most obstruction of justice cases fly under the radar, but every few years a big obstruction of justice case makes the national news. Here are a couple of the most famous:
- Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal that led to his resignation from office.
- Barry Bonds for providing false testimony in the BALCO steroid case.
Penalties for Obstructing Justice
Obstruction of justice penalties vary from in each state but are generally pretty harsh. In Wisconsin, a person can be sent to jail for up to 9 months or fined up to $10,000 for obstructing justice. If you believe you have provided a false report to a police officer or lied under oath (either intentionally or unintentionally) it’s in your best interest to speak with a Wisconsin defense attorney immediately to discuss your options.