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Spokane Lawyer for Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer

If you are facing a charge of Obstructing, please call our office to learn about what we may be able to do for you on your case. Mr. Graham has 25 years experience in the criminal justice system, and he is a former prosecutor. Our office does free consultations on criminal charges, and we work in Spokane and the surrounding counties of eastern Washington.

Definition of Obstructing

The crime of Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer is defined under state law as when a person "willfully hinders, delays, or obstructs any law enforcement officer in the discharge of his or her official powers or duties." It is a statute that is often misused by a police officer to punish a person for being uncooperative. A person often will have the legal right to not cooperate with a police officer. For example at our law firm, we have see people cited for Obstructing when they refuse to provide information as to the whereabout of the son or daughter, or when they verbally insult a police officer, or when they won't consent to the search of their home. Each of these behaviors is a lawful right, and people cannot legal be punished for that behavior. (The right to refuse to consent to a search, is protected by the Fourth Amendment.) Sometimes, however, a person does engage in behavior toward a police officer that can, in fact, get someone in to trouble. For example, our defense lawyers, have seen instances where people will attempt to prevent their loved one from being arrested, or will try to hide evidence during a search. This sort of activity does, in fact, violate the law. It is often hard for non-lawyers to know exactly what their rights are, and they often get carried away although they mean no harm. Ultimately, whether a certain behavior is "Obstructing" is up to the jury, and that is where we come in. Our defense lawyers are experienced in fighting and winning jury trials in Spokane and the other counties of eastern Washington.

Related Offenses

There are certain offenses that are related to Obstructing. For example, the charge of Resisting Arrest is often charged in conjunction with Obstructing, as is Assault in the 3rd Degree, and Disorderly Conduct. The charge of Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer is often confused with the federal charge of Obstruction of Justice. However, that federal offense has more to do with interfering with judicial proceedings, rather than the day-to-day work of police officers in the field.

Sentences for Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer

The punishment for Obstructing is up to 1 year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Typically a first time offender would receive probation and a fine. If the offense was alcohol related, the judge could order a person to go to drug or alcohol treatment. Community service hours are also no uncommon. The offense can be vacated off a person's record if they stay out of trouble for 3 years from the time they are off probation and have paid all their fines and court costs.

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