It is a scary thing to get stopped by a police officer. No one wants to get into trouble with the police. When stopped by an officer, we make choices about how to behave in that situation. Most of the time, we choose to cooperate, but sometimes, we can make a different choice and that choice may get us into further trouble. Obstructing an officer may be one of those choices.
Obstructing an Officer in Claremore
Oklahoma law gives wide berth to all law enforcement officials in carrying out their duties. In Oklahoma, obstructing an officer is defined as the intentional delaying or obstructing of a police officer in the discharge of his or her duties. The crime is a misdemeanor in Oklahoma. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 540
The intent to obstruct, delay, or interfere must be willful. It is a crime of intent coupled with an action that interferes.
The statute is written quite broadly to apply to a number of different situations. Almost anything that interferes with an officer’s ability to investigate a crime or conduct an arrest may be considered obstruction. For example, lying to a police officer, withholding evidence from an officer, and resisting arrest could all be chargeable as obstruction.
In order to secure a conviction for obstructing an officer, the prosecution must prove all elements of the crime. One of the key elements that the prosecution must prove is that the obstruction was intentional. The obstruction must have been done on purpose.
If the alleged delay or interference happens accidentally, there is no chargeable crime. For example, let’s say it isn’t apparent from the officer’s clothing that they are on duty. If the officer fails to properly identify himself or herself, there may be no obstruction if you resist arrest.
In addition, the officer must be involved in his or her official duties at the time of the delay or interference. If the officer is off duty or otherwise not engaged in official duties, an acquittal is possible.
The crime is a misdemeanor in Oklahoma. Since the statute does not specify a sentence, the general sentence limits apply. If convicted, you could face up to a $500 fine, up to a year in jail, or both.
If you are facing obstruction charges, make sure that you hire an experienced Claremore criminal defense attorney to help protect your freedom.
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