The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into a domestic dispute in Paulding County that occurred last week.
Tristan Payne, a 22-year-old man, has been arrested on two counts of aggravated assault after he allegedly aimed a pistol at officers and refused to lower the weapon during a house call to a domestic dispute. Reports said that Payne was believed to be heavily intoxicated and had been threatening family members in the home with the gun. When officers arrived on scene, Payne aimed his weapon at the police. This resulted in one of the officers shooting Payne in the shoulder.
As stated in the story above, Payne is facing charges of aggravated assault – but it is possible that felony obstruction may also apply to his list of charges. As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, I often deal with cases consisting of obstruction and DUI in Georgia. The reality is that obstruction can be easily charged against an unruly detainee as well as justifiably charged when a person truly resists arrest.
Either way, just because a person has been accused of committing a crime does not mean he or she is guilty of committing that offense. Also – sometimes even though a person behaves poorly during an arrest, it does not mean that the actions constitute the crime of obstruction.
In today's post, I will outline the offense of both misdemeanor and felony obstruction so as to better clarify what actually constitutes obstruction in the state of Georgia.
Obstruction in Georgia
Obstruction in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §16-10-24 of the Georgia Code.
Misdemeanor-level obstruction is defined 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-level obstruction is defined 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.
As I mentioned above – not everyone is guilty of a crime just because they have been arrested. If you or a loved one has been arrested for DUI or any related offense, contact our offices today.
A Georgia DUI Attorney can help you now.