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Obstruction of Justice Laws in California

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A surprising number of people think that obstruction of justice is something the writers of procedural shows made up in order to correct plot holes. While it’s true, obstruction of justice is an overused plot device, it is also a real thing. If you live in California, there are a few things you should know about the state’s obstruction of justice laws.

One of the interesting things about obstruction of justice in California is that the state doesn’t have a specific obstruction of justice crime. Instead, it’s a blanket term that’s used to describe a variety of offenses that are commonly referred to as California’s obstruction of justice laws.

Official offenses that are considered forms of obstruction of justice include:

✨ Destruction of evidence
✨ Withholding evidence
Resisting arrest
✨ Preparing false evidence
✨ Providing a false statement
✨ Hiding a witness/suspect
✨ Interfering with an arrest
✨ Lying to police officers
✨ Failing to report a crime
✨ Tampering with evidence
✨ Intimidating/threatening a witness

The exact consequences of breaking one of California’s obstruction of justice laws varies from case to case. One of the reasons so many different “crimes” fall under the label of obstruction of justice is so that prosecutors have the option of choosing the one that best matches the exact scenario where justice was obstructed.

For example, if you’re convicted of preparing false evidence, your sentence could include 16 months to three years in prison plus as much as $10,000 in fines. In this particular case, you’ll also likely be convicted of felony forgery.

On the other hand, if you are convicted of destroying evidence, you’ll only be convicted of a misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for destroying evidence is six months in a county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

If you interfere with an arrest which is also called obstructing a police officer, your sentence could be convicted of a misdemeanor. The maximum sentence is a year in a county jail and up o a $1,000 fine.

If you’re charged with one of California’s obstruction of justice laws, don’t automatically confess. The burden of proof lies with the prosecution and making their case often isn’t as easy as they make it sound in the interrogation room. Not only do they have to prove that you did something that made it difficult for the prosecution to make a case or for the police to investigate the crime, but the prosecution also has to prove that at the time of your actions, you knew that you were doing something that obstructed the natural course of justice.

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Consequences of High-Speed Chases in California

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High-speed car chases happen all over the country, yet whenever people hear about a high-speed chase, they automatically assume it took place in California. That’s because California, and more specifically, Los Angeles, is considered the Car Chase Capital of the World.

There are a few reasons that California and high-speed chases go together. The first is that there are a lot of people in California and an extensive highway system. That combination means more opportunity. In 2002, there were over 700 car chases just in Los Angeles.

The second is that there is more media coverage, specifically helicopter film coverage, in the L.A. area, which means that rather than being a single paragraph buried in the bottom of an online newspaper column, the California chase makes it onto television and attracts a lot of attention.

The problem with high-speed car chases is that while they look fun on television, they are actually extremely dangerous, and often it’s the bystanders who get hurt and even killed as a result of the car chase.

It doesn’t matter how good a driver you think you are, you will never be able to outrun the police, who will use radios to stay on top of your exact location. Engaging in a high-speed car chase will simply get you in even more legal trouble than you faced prior to trying to flee the police. Even worse, there will be elements of the chase you simply can’t control.

A recent California car chase illustrated just how badly things can go when you attempt to flee the police. In June, a driver in a flatbed truck attempted to evade the police. At one point he was driving on the wrong side of the road. He lost control of his vehicle when the police deployed a spike strip and crashed his vehicle. The wreck was so severe the 10 Freeway was shut down while debris was removed.

California lawmakers call fleeing the police reckless evasion, a wobbler offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Reckless evasion is addressed in the California Vehicle Code 2800.2 VC.

If you’re convicted of misdemeanor reckless evasion, you could be sentenced to:

✨ Up to one year in jail Fined $1,000

If you’re convicted of felony reckless evasion, the sentence can include:

✨ Up to 3 years in prison
✨ A fine that’s as large as $10,000
The judge could order that the vehicle you used to flee from the police be impounded for thirty days, which will make you responsible for impound fees as well as towing.
In order to convict you of reckless evasion, the prosecution has to prove that:

✨ You intentionally evaded the police
✨ That it was clear both the vehicle the officer was in and the officer was a member of the police force

It doesn’t matter if you’re worried about getting a ticket or if you’re about to be arrested for a serious crime, trying to evade the police and leading them on a high-speed chase will only make the situation much worse. Not only will the evasion lead to additional charges, but if your actions lead to property damage or if someone gets hurt, you could also find yourself as the defendant in a costly civil lawsuit.

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California’s Drug Cultivation Laws

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Drug cultivation in California is addressed in Health and Safety Code 11379.6HS. The code clearly states that, “every person who manufactures, compounds, converts, produces, derives, processes, or prepares, either directly or indirectly by chemical extraction or independently by means of chemical synthesis, any controlled substance specified in Section 11054, 11055, 11056, 11057, or 11058 shall be punished.”

Getting caught manufacturing, growing, or otherwise producing prohibited drugs in the state could result in a sentence that includes 3-7 years in a state prison and a fine as large as $50,000.

In many cases, manufacturing a controlled substance represents only one of the things you’ll be charged with. There are usually several charges filed at once. Additional charges generally include:

✨ Possession
✨ Possession with intent to sell
✨ Possession of drug paraphernalia
✨ Transportation of drugs
✨ Etc.

If the police suspect you of manufacturing or dealing with a controlled substance in California, the last thing you want to do is make the situation worse. It’s in your best interest to cooperate with the police as much as you can, which includes not doing something like trying to resist arrest. The challenge is cooperating with the police but also not saying anything that could potentially incriminate you, which is why you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who has a strong background in cases that involve the manufacturing of controlled substances in California.

Drug cultivation laws involving marijuana can still be a bit confusing to some people. Many mistakenly believed that since marijuana is no a legal recreational drug in California, there are no drug cultivation laws involving marijuana in California. That’s not the case. At this point, the average person can only legally care for a maximum of six marijuana plants at a time. Only individuals who are over 21 can use it, and you can only legally carry 28.5 grams.

Some cities have ordinances that prohibit cultivating marijuana outdoors, though you’re still legally able to do so in the comfort of your own home.