DeMarvin Bennett, a man who has recently made headlines after being accused of killing a prominent businessman in a pharmacy parking lot in Hall County, has made headlines again this week.
According to officers, Bennett was charged with yet another crime earlier this month after allegedly “refusing to follow a deputy's commands to return to his cell” and instead grabbed onto the deputy's legs refusing to let go.
Obviously, Bennett is facing some serious charges that fall outside the realm of Georgia DUI Law - such as murder. However, as a result of his conduct in prison, he is also facing obstruction charges. Ironically, obstruction is a charge often seen hand in hand with DUI in Georgia.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I will outline the law behind obstruction in today's post.
Obstruction in Georgia
Obstruction in Georgia can be considered a misdemeanor or a felony based on the level of resistance shown by the defendant towards the officer.
The dividing line between misdemeanor and felony obstruction is a threat or act of violence. The law is outlined in the Georgia Code in O.C.G.A. §16-10-24.
Misdemeanor obstruction is defined in the first part of the law in O.C.G.A. §16-10-24(a) as:
When a person knowingly or willfully obstructs or hinders any law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties.
The penalty for a misdemeanor conviction in Georgia is a fine up to $1,000, jail time up to one year, or both. It can also come with community service, anger management classes, or any other punishments allowed under the misdemeanor sentencing laws of Georgia.
Felony obstruction is defined in the second part of the law in O.C.G.A. §16-10-24(b) as:
When a person knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes any law enforcement officer, prison guard, correctional officer, community supervision officer, probation officer, or conservation officer in the lawful discharge of his or her official duties by offering or doing violence to the person.
The penalty for a felony obstruction conviction is a prison term between one and five years. In addition to any prison term imposed, the accused will pay a fine of at least $300. On top of fines and prison time, a felony obstruction conviction could include community service and anger management classes.
People tend to resist arrest out of fear or worry more rather than anger or violence towards the officer. Of course, there are exceptions on either side of the division line. Just because a person has been arrested for obstruction or any other crime as a matter of fact does not mean that he or she is guilty of committing that crime.
There are two sides to every story. That being said - if you or a loved one has been arrested, contact a Georgia DUI Attorney now.