Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer refers most simply to when an officer feels that a person is knowingly and willfully hindering them from conducting his or her duties. It ranges from something as serious as trying to fight the officer to something as nominal as cussing at the officer.
DUI arrests typically start with a routine traffic stop. I've written about a lot of different traffic offenses that go hand-in-hand with DUIs in Georgia. Regardless if the stop is for failure to maintain lane or speeding, a traffic stop generally escalates if an officer has any reason to believe the driver might be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
How does Georgia Law define Obstruction?
Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer in Georgia can be a misdemeanor or a felony.
Misdemeanor Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer in Georgia
A misdemeanor obstruction charge is defined by Georgia law as “when a person knowingly or willfully obstructs or hinders any law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties.” O.C.G.A. §16-10-24(a).
If you are convicted of the misdemeanor obstruction offense, you could face up to twelve months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, or both.
Felony Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer in Georgia
According to the statute, the only difference between the obstruction offenses is offering or committing violence towards the officer.
A felony obstruction charge is defined by Georgia law 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.” O.C.G.A. §16-10-24(b).
If you are convicted of the felony obstruction offense, you could face anywhere from one to five years in prison, a minimum fine of $300, community service, or anger management classes.
If an officer has a legitimate reason for stopping or even questioning you, you legally cannot flee or hinder his investigation. The following list contains some helpful guidelines:
- Never lie or give false information/documentation to an officer
- Provide only the information asked for by the officer such as your name and your driver's license
- When getting pulled over by an officer, pull over immediately
- Never threaten or defy an officer, remain calm and collected during the interaction
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in Georgia, contact a Georgia DUI Lawyer. Even if your case includes an obstruction charge, your case is not hopeless. In most situations, arrests are stressful for all parties, and we can work on getting your obstruction charges dropped or reduced to a lesser offense. Contact us today.