When it comes to criminal investigations and criminal prosecutions, most
states have enacted some kind of law that prohibits the intimidation of
witnesses or victims. Often, such offenses are referred to as
obstruction of justice or
retaliation – something to that effect. In Arizona, we refer to this as “obstructing
criminal investigations or prosecutions,” and this offense is covered under
Section 13-2409 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.
A person violates Sec. 13-2409 when he or she knowingly uses bribery, force,
intimidation, threats of force, or misrepresentation, to delay or prevent
the communication of information to a police officer, a judge or magistrate,
prosecutor, or grand jury about the violation of any law.
Examples of how someone can commit an offense under Sec. 13-2409:
- An offender tells a witness that if she reports a crime, he will harm her
or her family members.
- A rapist tells his rape victim that he will kill her if she goes to the police.
- An employer commits fraud, but he tells his innocent employee that if he
reports the crime, he’ll “take him down with him.”
- A woman who was a part of a complex insurance fraud scheme at a medical
office tells a co-worker that if she tells the truth to investigators,
she’ll ensure that her family pays for it.
- A defendant threatens a witness that if he testifies against him, he’ll
take the witness’s life.
- A woman witnesses her neighbor’s extreme violence against his wife.
A domestic violence investigation ensues, but the abusive man threatens
his neighbor saying, “If you tell, I’ll do to you what I did
to my wife.”
An offense under Sec. 13-2409 is a
Class 5 felony offense, unless the crime was committed with the intention of promoting or helping
a criminal street gain, then it would be a
Class 3 felony. For non-violent offenses, Class 5 felonies are punishable by 6 months
to 2.5 years behind bars. If the Class 5 felony is classified as a “dangerous
offense,” it’s punishable by 2 to 8 years depending on the
defendant’s criminal record.
To learn more about sentencing in Arizona,
Accused of interfering with a criminal investigation or prosecution? If so,
contact our Phoenix criminal defense firm at once to schedule a free case evaluation!