The police are harassing you, making false accusations, even threatening to arrest you. Although you are being wrongfully accused, maybe you’ve already been charged and arrested. You’re looking around for help, hoping that someone in a position of power will have your back. And then it hits you – you should call your congressman! That’s what he’s there for – it’s his job to look out for his constituents, people just like you, right? Not so fast…

What is Obstruction of Justice in SC?

I’ve seen many frustrated clients call or write a letter to their elected officials and pronounce with confidence that their case will be dismissed as soon as their congressman finds out what is happening. But it never works out that way – I’ve never seen a lawmaker intervene in a criminal prosecution, and for good reason. When an elected official tries to intervene in a criminal investigation, they set themselves up for, at best, embarrassing criticism. At worst, they could find themselves faced with criminal charges like obstruction of justice. When people think of obstruction of justice, they often recall the plot of some TV show – someone murdered a witness, bribed a police officer, or physically intimidated a juror. But the behavior doesn’t have to be so extreme – the law makes it clear that any action that is meant to influence, hinder, or delay an investigation or court proceeding can lead to charges of obstruction of justice. This could include an elected official trying to influence a law enforcement official, attorney, or judge engaged in a criminal case.

Ok, But I Donated to Their Campaign…

A recent example of an elected official making a misguided attempt to “help” a constituent (who was also a donor to her political campaign) occurred in Florida. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Erik Agazim decked himself out in military gear, hung an assault rifle over his shoulder, and used a machete to destroy blaring fire alarms. His behavior terrified his neighbors, and one of them called police. Agazim then texted Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, who is running for U.S. Congress, and asked for her help telling her that he was being wrongly targeted and falsely accused.. The naïve commissioner quickly contacted police and requested that they leave Agazim alone. She later asked that she be allowed to attend when they interviewed him. “That would be inappropriate,” the police chief responded. Agazim has now been charged with more than a dozen felonies, so obviously Rosen Gonzalez’s “help” was not particularly helpful. Her involvement only raised questions from the police department and brought her embarrassing, negative news coverage right in the middle of her campaign. Although she has not been charged with any crimes at this point, she is also now facing the spectre of a possible investigation for obstruction of justice. This is why most elected officials won’t make the same mistake that Rosen Gonzalez made.

SC Criminal Defense Attorneys in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Columbia, and Charleston

If you are facing a criminal investigation or have already been charged, call an experienced SC criminal defense lawyer who can help you to investigate the allegations, build a defense, and fight the charges… Contact your Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyer today to set up a free consultation by calling (843) 488-5000 or filling out our online form.

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