Photo by Faruk Tokluoğlu

If someone commits a crime, they will do anything to cover up their tracks. So much goes on in the middle of any criminal investigation. And so we will learn the different obstructive aspects worse than the vile act.

Getting into the mind of a perpetrator is a challenge. Investigators often have to act like them and memorize their thoughts and habits. They must rule out possible suspects to pinpoint who committed the crime. However, the complicated part is when the perp manages to erase their tracks during the chase.

The treacherous terrain of catching and running is a tiring scenario. What makes the crime worse is not its vile nature. It’s when some enablers or people help remove the perpetrator’s traces so law enforcement won’t easily find them. These people are equally the same or, if not worse, than the criminal. Doing the crime is one thing, but helping to eliminate traces of it is another.

That is why there’s a corresponding punishment for those who help cover up a crime. Even though they’re not the main perpetrator, they must be punished according to the law. The book Lost Causes by Donna Thompson exemplifies people swallowed by greed and lies. This mystery book contains a series of individuals abusing their power to keep the truth from shedding light and cracking the case.

Today we will learn what obstruction of justice is and how crime can be covered up to prevent discovery.

Obstruction of Justice 101

Crimes happen for various reasons. One might be out of impulsive urges born from a passion everywhere. Another reason is the concealment of secrets that needs to remain hidden forever. And when people prevent them from getting revealed, that is called obstruction of justice.

Fear is a strong motivator. It is used to the advantage of the ones with more power to suppress what needs to be buried. Fear fuels criminals to cover up what they did so no one would find out. It covers many state and federal statutes in the U.S. alone. These are the examples of actions taken to commit obstruction of justice:

  • Bribery
  • Intimidation
  • Physical force

Those acts could be used against mostly witnesses or accomplices and law enforcement. As long as it can interfere in many ways, obstruction of justice can be a secret weapon that’s dangerous and an equally significant offense.

What are the examples of various cover-ups?

It could be delaying field investigations, disrupting court proceedings on purpose, tampering or destroying evidence, evading court summons, etc. Criminals have gotten more creative in not getting caught lately, and the list will soon grow as long as they manage to throw investigators off their trail.

There are specific bases for prosecuting someone for obstruction of justice. It doesn’t have to be an inanimate object to be considered evidence. Unlawful behavior can be a helpful addition. For instance, it can shred files and other documents related to the case.

And if management gets involved in destroying crucial documents that will potentially close the topic, it’s already an act of covering up. Those circumstances lead to the idea of “intent.” Meaning questions like what happened in the person’s head when the cover-up was committed. After putting the pieces together, the inferencing determines whether the act was an attempt to disrupt the investigation.

What are the ways to cover up a crime?

Interference is the worst when it comes to an emergency. Obstruction of justice ultimately crosses the legal line more than the actual crime. The punishment can get severe, depending on the gravity of the criminal block. Here are the following ways in which obstruction of justice occurs:

Aiding a Suspect

This rule mainly applies to loved ones or relatives of the prime suspects, including the common ones. They can be charged as well, especially when they give a warning to the people who are under suspicion. It’s an act of enabling the person of interest a chance to act on getting rid of the evidence. Another example would be providing a temporary hiding place for the suspect.


False testimony is a no-brainer in terms of obstructing justice. Especially when a person commits perjury during a court question can incriminate someone even if they’re not the suspect. That’s because they already swore to tell the truth before testifying. Giving away false leads to investigators, faking information, lying during police interrogations, etc., are grave offenses under obstruction of justice.

Evidence tampering

The last thing any investigator would want is to come across tampered evidence. In some cases, cover-ups ensure that all are included, making it hard for detectives to uncover the truth. Doctoring someone’s property to hide someone else’s misdeeds falls under obstruction of justice. Don’t forget that witnesses are necessary forms of evidence. And anyone who threatens, bribes, intimidates or coerces a witness will be held accountable. They will also be charged for they attempted to interfere with a potential testimony.

Final thoughts

Committing a crime is subjected to the appropriate punishment, according to the laws of the land. However, cover-ups are equally, if not worse, than that. So be reminded that the truth will always come to light. And it will be an unstoppable force that will uphold justice for everyone.