Obstruction – What Does it Mean?
There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about obstruction of justice under federal law involving the President. Criminal charges under federal obstruction laws could include witness tampering, obstructing criminal investigations, or obstructing law enforcement, among other things.
In Minnesota, the more commonly invoked criminal statute is a little different and typically involves obstruction of legal process or arrest. This statute (609.50) makes it a misdemeanor if someone intentionally:
- obstructs, hinders, or prevents the lawful execution of any legal process, civil or criminal, or apprehension of another on a charge or conviction of a criminal offense;
- obstructs, resists, or interferes with a peace officer performing official duties;
- interferes with or obstructs a firefighter or ambulance crew performing official duties or providing emergency care; OR
- by force or threat of force obstructs any Department of Revenue employee lawfully performing official duties.
If the accused knew or should’ve known that the act created the risk of, or actually caused, death, substantial injury, or serious property damage, then it’s a felony. If the accused acted with force or violence or the threat of violence, it’s a gross misdemeanor.
If you have additional questions about obstruction charges in Minnesota, call us now at 763.421.6366 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.