Any time you make a police officer’s job more difficult – even if you’re just asking some questions or voicing an objection to their conduct – you risk being charged with obstruction.
Sometimes, an officer who responds to a call for one reason will not even charge you for that crime, but will instead only charge you with obstruction based on something you may have done or said during the contact.
In Colorado, obstructing a peace officer is a class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in the county jail.
Legally, a person obstructs a police officer where they use or threaten to use violence, force, physical interference, or some other obstacle and in so doing obstruct, impair, or hinder the enforcement of the law by that police officer.
Even if that officer’s actions are illegal, if that officer is acting under color of his authority as a police officer, the illegality of that officer’s actions does not create a defense. However, if that officer has not taken an action based on a judgment in good faith based on surrounding facts and circumstances, then a defense to the charge may arise.
It is also possible to obstruct a firefighter, or an EMT, in a similar manner.
If the obstruction involves some kind of physical contact with the police officer, firefighter, or EMT, your case could also be filed as an assault on a peace officer, however minor that contact was. Even an incident of spitting could be charged as a felony assault on a peace officer.
If you have been charged with obstructing, either at the state level or in municipal court, contact Kimberly Diego today for a free consultation to discuss next steps and expectations moving forward.