Have You Been Charged with Obstruction in Georgia?
Is Your Georgia Obstruction Case Tied to a DUI Arrest?
Obstruction of law enforcement officers (See O.C.G.A 16-10-24) is a common additional charge in DUI and drug possession cases in Georgia. Of course, it can also be charged alone. It refers to when a police officer feels that a person “knowingly and willfully obstructs or hinders” the officer when he is conducting his duties. This can be something as violent as hitting or trying to fight the officer or something as small as using profanity with the officer or resisting arrest. It also can be tied to the crimes of offering an investigating officer false or misleading information. It can also be charged when a person runs from a police officer lawfully trying to detain someone.
If you are stopped by a police officer for committing a traffic offense, a minor traffic stop can be escalated if you disobey or threaten the officer. If you knowingly and willfully obstruct or hinder any law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties, you may be guilty of the charge of Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer. One potential defense to obstruction in Georgia is that the law enforcement officer be acting in his official capacity at the time of the offense and that you knew at the time that the person was a law enforcement officer.
This also applies to obstruction of prison guards, correctional officers, probation supervisors, parole supervisors, and conservation rangers as well. This charge can either be a misdemeanor or felony offense in the state of Georgia. For the charge to be escalated to a felony offense, you must offer or do violence to the officer. This does not mean that the officer must actually be injured; it is enough that you threaten an act of violence. Mere argument is typically not enough to support a felony obstruction arrest.
Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer During a DUI Arrest
Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer requires that you knowingly and willfully obstruct or hinder an officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties. Most DUI arrests begin with a traffic stop for a minor traffic offense. A minor traffic stop can be escalated if the officer has reason to believe you may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The traffic stop can be escalated even more if you threaten or defy the officer, or obstruct the officer's ability to investigate any possible criminal activity.
When a routine traffic stop or DUI investigation results in an arrest for Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer, the most common reasons are giving a false name or other false information, resisting arrest, and running from police. When an officer signals to pull you over on a roadway, you must pull over as soon as you are able to do so safely. If you are pulled over when turning into your subdivision, you should not continue to your driveway, you should pull over immediately. Otherwise, you may be accused of evading police.
If its apparent that you have attempted or actually did eat or consume any drugs that were in your vehicle, you can be charged with obstruction for destroying evidence and interfering with an investigation. You are also required by law to provide certain information such as your name, if requested. If you give a fake name or provide false documentation, you can be charged with obstruction. Further, if you jump out of your vehicle and run, you will definitely be charged with obstruction and the officer may get to use his Taser.
Passengers are often arrested for obstruction charges during routine traffic stops that have escalated into DUI investigations. A passenger should never get out of the vehicle during a stop unless directed to by the officer. Many times a passenger is a friend or family member who feels protective of the person being investigated, but getting out of the vehicle can make the situation worse for everyone involved. The police very often charge friends and family members who get out of the car because they feel threatened by the interfering person. It is best for a person to stay in the car and be available to help their friend or family member bond out.
Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer in Georgia
Most commonly, a charge of Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer stems from a person running when confronted by police. If the officer had a legitimate reason for stopping or questioning you, you cannot flee or otherwise hinder his investigation. Resisting arrest is also a common act leading to an Obstruction charge. Lying or giving false information to a police officer is also considered Obstruction. Pushing or shoving, even when the acts do not result in injury or harm to the officer, can support a felony Obstruction charge.
Misdemeanor Obstruction in Georgia can result in a 12 month maximum sentence. It is also punishable by a $1000 fine, community service, anger management classes, and anything else allowed under the misdemeanor sentencing laws of Georgia.
Felony Obstruction in Georgia can result in a sentence of between 1 and 5 years in prison. It can also be punished with community service and anger management classes. The fines can be in the thousands of dollars. Obstruction is considered a felony when the obstruction constitutes a threat of violence to the officer. Under the obstruction statute, a law enforcement officer is considered a probation officer, parole officer, park ranger, or prison guard in addition to a regular police officer.
Since obstruction can be a charged as a felony with a potential 5 year prison sentence, it is not a charge to be taken lightly. Our Georgia Lawyers can help. Oftentimes, people are just upset about being suspected or arrested for a crime and overact. Our lawyers often get obstruction charges dropped or reduced to a less serious offense such as disorderly conduct or public drunk. Many police officers over-react to anyone who challenges their authority. Later on, when tempers settle down, the case can be worked out to the advantage of all involved.
Call Experienced Attorneys today for immediate help:
If you have been arrested for misdemeanor or felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer, call the Law Office of Richard Lawson today and we will review the circumstances of your arrest and evaluate your case for any potential defenses to get the best possible outcome in your case. We are open 24/7, 365 days a year because your problems need immediate help and attention. Obstruction in Georgia is a serious matter, whether misdemeanor or felony; so act now.