It is generally a crime in Washington if you interfere with or obstruct a court of law. The offense is charged as a gross misdemeanor and a conviction could result in a jail sentence of up to one years. Please contact a skilled criminal defense attorney now if you have been charged with any type of obstruction crime

What is Obstruction of a Court Under Washington Law?

RCW 9.27.015 is the Washington statute that sets forth the crime of interference with or obstruction a court of law. According to this law, you commit an offense if you:

  1. Picket or parade in or near a courthouse, or any building used by a judge, juror, witness, or court officer, and
  2. Such acts interfere with or obstruct the administration of justice.

Consider, for example, an instance where a man’s wife is on trial for assault. The man pickets outside the courthouse while holding a sign that asks the jurors to “have mercy on my wife.” Here, the man is likely guilty under RCW 9.27.015 since his sign could interfere with justice by wrongfully persuading the jury.

Note, though, that it is usually not a crime under this statute if you merely conduct a peaceful protest outside a court with no intent to persuade or interfere with a legal case.

What are the Penalties?

The interference or obstruction of a court is charged as a gross misdemeanor under Washington law. A conviction of this offense is punishable by:

  1. Confinement in county jail for up to one year, and/or
  2. A maximum fine of $5,000.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. You have the right to challenge an obstruction of a court charge with a legal defense. A common defense is to show that while you may have picketed or paraded outside a court, your acts did not interfere with the administration of justice.

Your criminal defense attorney can also try and show that the police somehow violated your constitutional rights. A common showing here is for your lawyer to demonstrate that the police arrested you without probable cause. If so, your defense attorney can ask your judge to reduce your charge or dismiss it in its entirety.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge an interference of court charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various misdemeanor charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!

* Main image at the top by Freepik