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Obstructing a Criminal Investigation in Arizona

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, click here.

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!