Any interaction with police can escalate into an arrest if you let your emotions get the best of you. Obstructing or hindering any law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties can lead to a charge of Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officer. This includes prison guards, correctional officers, probation supervisors, parole supervisors, and conservation rangers as well. In order to violate the law, you must have known the person was a police officer and he must have been acting in his official capacity at the time of the offense.

Obstruction can be a misdemeanor or felony offense in the state of Georgia. For it to be charged as a felony offense, you must offer or do violence to the officer. Pushing or shoving, even when you didn’t injure or harm the officer, is enough to support a felony obstruction charge. Threats of violence can also lead to a felony charge.

Misdemeanor obstruction can include running from police when the officer had a legitimate reason for stopping or questioning you, resisting arrest, lying or giving false information, or otherwise preventing the officer from doing his job.

Most commonly, obstruction is charged when a person interferes with an investigation. Passengers are often arrested for obstruction charges during routine traffic stops that have escalated into investigations for other offenses. A passenger should never get out of the vehicle during a stop unless directed to by the officer. Many times a passenger is a friend or family member who feels protective of the person being investigated, but getting out of the vehicle can make the situation worse for everyone involved. If a police officer is acting inappropriately or improperly, the time and place to fight back is in court, not on the side of the road.