According to reports out of Chatham County, Ernest Lee Brooks, a 43-year-old man, pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and obstruction regarding the attack of a deputy in court.
The incident itself happened last year when Brooks was being sentenced for a Georgia Probation Violation. “All of a sudden, for no reason, he just turned around and started hitting me,” the deputy recounted. The officer had a torn rotator cuff and disc damage that required surgery as a result of the attack. As this was not the first time Brooks has resisted and attacked police, he was sentenced to 20 years for the brutal attack.
Resisting and attacking police officers is taken very seriously in the state of Georgia. That being said, there are times where the offense of obstruction occurs, and there are times when a police officer is unhappy with a person's attitude and charges them with obstruction.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I am quite familiar with the laws around obstruction and resisting arrest in our state. Obstruction is a commonly charged offense with DUI in Georgia, or other alcohol or drug related offenses. Most of the time, a person isn't thinking straight and makes the decision to resist arrest. Other times, a person is wrongfully accused, and officers take the opportunity to charge them with obstruction.
In today's post, I will outline the two different levels of obstruction as laid out by law.
Obstruction in Georgia
Examples of obstruction can include the following actions:
- Resisting arrest
- Hindering investigation
- Lying to police
- Running from police
- Threatening officers, etc.
The Georgia Code defines obstruction in Georgia in O.C.G.A. §16-10-24 as:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of this Code section, a person who knowingly and willfully obstructs or hinders any law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) Whoever knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes any law enforcement officer, prison guard, correctional officer, probation supervisor, parole supervisor, or conservation ranger in the lawful discharge of his official duties by offering or doing violence to the person of such officer or legally authorized person is guilty of a felony and shall, upon conviction thereof, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than five years.
According to the law, there is misdemeanor level as well as felony level obstruction. The difference between the two offenses is whether or not a threat of violence or actual violence is done to the officer.
Depending on the circumstances, a person charged with obstruction is facing anywhere up to 12 months or up to 5 years of incarceration.
Just as I mentioned above, there are certain situations where a charge of obstruction is improperly applied. Unfortunately, I have seen the offense used as a catchall provision.
Regardless of the circumstances, if you or a loved one has been arrested, contact a Georgia DUI Attorney today. We can help you better understand all of your legal options. Call now.