I've been writing recently on related offenses that go “hand in hand” with the offense of DUI in Georgia. Another very common charge with DUI is Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officers in Georgia. A simple way to look at it is when police officers feel that a person is both knowingly and willfully obstructing and hindering them while they are trying to conduct their duties. See O.C.G.A. §16-10-24 below.
There are two categories of obstruction.
Misdemeanor Obstruction: “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).
Felony Obstruction: “When a person knowingly and willfully resist, obstruct, or oppose 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).
According to O.C.G.A. §16-10-24, the only difference between the obstruction offenses is offering or committing violence towards the officer.
The majority of DUI arrests start off with a routine traffic stop. This stop can escalate if the officer believes you are driving under the influence. Most people react poorly in the heat of the moment because they feel as though they are being accused, and they suspect that they are headed for a lot of trouble. This leads some people to threaten, defy, and thusly obstruct the officer from his investigation.
Passengers in the car tend to also react irrationally when the driver is asked about driving under the influence. No one should get out of the car unless directed by the officer. Police officers often feel threatened by anyone interfering in their investigative process.
If an officer has a legitimate reason for pulling you over, stopping you, questioning you, etc. then you cannot flee or hinder the investigation. Resisting, lying, giving false information, pushing, and shoving are all examples of obstruction.
The penalty for a conviction of misdemeanor obstruction can include a 12 month jail sentence, up to a $1,000 fine, community service, or anger management classes.
The penalty for a conviction of felony obstruction can include a 1 to 5 year prison sentence, thousands of dollars in fines, community service or anger management classes.
As you can see, the penalties for obstruction in Georgia are severe. The majority of the time, people are merely upset about being pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence. Don't face an obstruction charge alone, contact a top-rated Georgia DUI Lawyer today.