Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer Attorneys in Bellevue
Believe it or not, obstructing a law enforcement officer is a widely committed offense. While various situations involve this crime, one of the most common scenarios is a passenger, friend, or family member interfering with an officer’s attempt to carry out an investigation or an arrest upon another. For example, if your spouse got pulled over by a police officer and you were challenging their authority, insulting them, and otherwise interfering with their official duties, you could be charged for obstructing a law enforcement officer.
Keep in mind that a law enforcement officer doesn’t only mean a police officer. “Law enforcement” officer in Washington State is defined as any general authority, limited authority, or specially commissioned Washington peace officer or federal peace officer and other public officers who are responsible for enforcement of fire, building, zoning, and life and safety codes. As such, it doesn’t take much to get accused of this crime. You may have only raised questions about an officer’s intent to investigate or arrest you or your loved one, but regardless, there’s a chance your questions could be taken out of context.
If you are accused of obstructing a law enforcement officer, contact our Bellevue lawyers online or at (425) 307-5515 to schedule your free consultation and learn more!
Penalty for Obstructing an Officer
Obstructing a law enforcement officer such as a police officer is a gross misdemeanor in Washington State, punishable by up to 364 days behind bars and/or a maximum $5,000 fine. With these consequences in mind, the obstruction of a law enforcement officer occurs when a person willfully hinders, delays, or obstructs any law enforcement officer in the discharge of their official powers or duties.
Elements of Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer
Remember, a charge does not mean a conviction. You are innocent until proven guilty. As such, the State is responsible for proving each element of the crime before you can be convicted for obstructing a law enforcement officer. That said, to convict you of the crime of obstructing a law enforcement officer, the prosecutor has the burden of proving each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That on or about the date of their arrest, the defendant willfully hindered, delayed, or obstructed a law enforcement officer in the discharge of their official powers or duties
- That the defendant knew that the law enforcement officer was discharging official duties at the time
- That any of these acts occurred in the State of Washington and the particular city and county in which the defendant was charged
If a judge or jury finds from the prosecutor’s evidence that each of these elements has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, then they may return a guilty verdict. However, our job is to show that your conduct was not willful. Without establishing willfulness, prosecutors cannot convict you of obstructing a law enforcement officer. Our lawyers will go above and beyond to help get your charges reduced or dismissed altogether, allowing you to move forward with minimal damage to your record and reputation.
Examples of Obstructing a Police Officer
Now that you have a better idea of the elements and penalties of obstructing a police officer in Washington State, it will benefit you to learn some examples. Understanding what constitutes the obstruction of a police officer could better help you avoid engaging in such conduct and subsequently, avoiding an arrest. Take a look at some examples below:
- Making a false report of a crime
- Assaulting a police officer
- Evading a law enforcement officer in pursuit
- Threatening to use violence against a police officer
- Refusing to obey an officer’s requests
- Presenting a fake ID or another identification card to an officer
Arrested? Our Bellevue obstruction of an officer attorneys can help. We can provide honest, straightforward counsel while keeping you in the loop of case updates and potential case outcomes. With Veitch Ault & Associates on your side, you can rest assured that we will go the distance to protect your rights and fight for your freedom.
Contact us at (425) 307-5515 to discuss your situation and learn more!
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