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Obstructing Official Business or Justice

To be charged with obstructing official business, you must have interfered with a public official’s ability to carry out his or her lawful duties. An example would be lying to the police.

In contrast, to be charged with obstructing justice, you must have done one of the following, with the purpose of thwarting the arrest or sentencing of another adult or delinquent child:

  • Harbor or conceal them
  • Give them money, transportation, a weapon, a disguise or any other way of avoiding getting caught
  • Warn them of impending arrest
  • Destroy or hide physical evidence of the offense, or persuade someone to withhold testimony or avoid being summoned to testify
  • Give someone false information
  • Use force, intimidation or deception to prevent anyone from aiding in arrest

Every day in central Ohio people face obstruction charges like obstruction of official business and/or obstruction of justice.  Depending on the charge, penalties can range from a second degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail to a second-degree felony punishable by up to 8 years in prison.

If you are convicted of obstruction of official business and/or obstruction of justice, additional potential issues include:

  • Maintaining your current employment
  • Licensure issues in some professions
  • Difficulty getting a good job in the future
  • Difficulty and possible denial in immigration and naturalization proceedings

Simply put, if you are convicted of obstruction of official business and/or obstruction of justice, it will potentially be on your criminal background for the rest of your life. No matter what the circumstances were in your case, you run the risk of being considered someone who is unable to respect those who enforce the law in the State of Ohio. Therefore, it is critical that you to give your obstruction of official business and/or obstruction of justice charge the level of importance it deserves.

The Columbus Criminal Defense team takes an aggressive and comprehensive approach when representing clients charged with obstruction of official business and/or obstruction of justice. First and foremost, we will figure out what mistakes the police made, whether your arrest was lawful and what other legal issues can be raised on your behalf.

We do this by requesting discovery from the prosecutor. The discovery will generally consist of police reports, additional investigative notes and potentially video or audio. As our client, you will receive a copy of everything received from the prosecutor for your review

Based on the legal weaknesses in the State of Ohio’s case and any other mitigating factors, we will negotiate the best possible plea available with the prosecutor for you to consider in resolving your case.

If your case cannot be resolved satisfactorily with a plea, it would then proceed to a motion hearing (a hearing where the judge issues a ruling on an evidentiary issue) or a trial to the judge or jury, depending on the circumstances.

For nearly ten years, the Columbus Criminal Defense team has successfully represented clients charged with obstruction of official business and obstruction of justice. That extensive previous experience will enable us to better help you.

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If you’ve been charged with obstruction of official business or obstruction of justice, it’s important to know what you’re up against. If you have any questions left unanswered by this page, or if you need a competent, experienced attorney to fight for you in court, please contact us at or via email at advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com.

Obstructing official business

This is a misdemeanor of the second degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A jail sentence of up to 90 days
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $750
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of six months to one year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
  • If it was rented property, the judge may order you to pay the cost of repair or replacement
  • If it was rental services, the judge may order you to pay the cost of repair and lost revenues (together, this has to be equal to or less than the value of the property when you stole it)

Obstructing justice

(Offense committed by the other person:)
This is a misdemeanor of the same degree as the misdemeanor committed by the other person. Here are jail sentences for misdemeanors and their corresponding fines.
This is a felony of the fifth degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of six months to one year
    • In its place, your judge may sentence you to probation or other community control punishments
  • At most, a fine of $2,500
This is a felony of the third degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of nine months to three years
  • A fine of $5,000 to $10,000
If nobody (excluding other participants) died from this offense, it’s a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine ranging from $7,500 to $15,000

If a nonparticipant did die, it’s a felony of the first degree and carries the following penalties:

  • A prison term of three to 11 years
  • A fine of $10,000 to $20,000
This is a felony of the second degree and carries the following penalties:
  • A prison term of two to eight years
  • A fine of $7,500 to $15,000
Have a question we didn’t answer below? Feel free to email us or call us and we’ll help you out.

No, you cannot. You’re protected under the Fifth Amendment, which guards against self-incrimination. In fact, this is a wise decision–if the police are questioning you about an offense you may or may not have committed, it’s best to “plead the Fifth” and ask to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before answering any questions.
No, it doesn’t. A person need only be charged with this during the initial investigation of a crime, before charges are even announced.

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Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP
580 E Rich St Fl 2
Columbus, OH 43215-5335
advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com

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FAX: (614) 413-2886