Obstruction of a law enforcement officer is a fertile topic, and we'll
spend the next two or three discussions dealing with this area. Today
we will discuss the basic elements of the law, and subsequently I will
give you some examples and possible defenses.
Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer can be charged as a
misdemeanor or as
felony. O.C.G.A. 16-10-24(a) describes the elements of misdemeanor obstruction
of a law enforcement officer, whereas 16-10-24(b) covers the felony elements.
O.C.G.A. 16-10-24(a) states in essence that a misdemeanor occurs when
a person knowingly and willfully obstructs or hinders any law enforcement
officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties.
Alternatively, O.C.G.A. 16-10-24(b) states in essence whoever knowingly
and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes any law enforcement officer
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 be imprisoned for not less than one
nor more than five years. The key difference in felony obstruction versus
misdemeanor obstruction is the offering or doing violence element. A common
misconception with felony obstruction is that the officer must have been
injured in some way. The Georgia Court of Appeals has ruled that injury
to the officer is not required to charge felony obstruction.
In the next few posts, I will get more in depth in providing examples of
obstruction, as well as possible defenses. If you've been charged
with a crime, call the
Law Office of Robert L. Booker today!