In the last blog, we began discussing felony and misdemeanor obstruction of a law enforcement officer, under O.C.G.A. 16-10-24. The key difference between misdemeanor and felony obstruction is that misdemeanor obstruction does not have force or violence as an element. As we previously discussed regarding a Giving False Name or Information charge, an officer must be in the lawful discharge of his or her official duties in order for a proper conviction of obstruction of a law enforcement officer.
An example of misdemeanor obstruction is Officer Smith is dispatched on a 911 call regarding a stolen stereo system. Officer Smith sees, fictional character, Ted walking in the vicinity of the alleged theft and Ted has his hands full of stereo equipment. Additionally, Ted matches the description of the suspect given by the 911 dispatcher. Officer Smith pulls over and instructs Ted to halt. Ted immediately throws down the stereo equipment and makes a run for it. When as stated in the above example, an officer has a reasonable articulable suspicion, instructs the suspect to stop, and the suspect flees, the basic elements of misdemeanor obstruction are met. Nevertheless, if the elements are met, there are still possible defenses available.
For example, Bill sees Officer Smith driving down the street. Officer Smith, seeing Bill run, decides to pursue Bill, and never instructs Bill to halt. Provided Officer Smith has no probable cause for an arrest, and an obstruction conviction is not proper. A charge for Obstruction or Hindering a law enforcement officer can be complex. Call the Law Office of Robert L. Booker, P.C. today and let us review the facts of your case.