Obstructing or Delaying a Peace Officer


A news anchor with Fox News was arrested at an airport in Minnesota for the crime of obstructing the legal process/interfering with a peace officer.  According to the Associated Press, airport police decided to arrest Gregg Jarrett after he began acting belligerently towards them, while appearing intoxicated.

Although this incident occurred in Minnesota, California has a similar criminal statute under Penal Code 148 (a)1, which makes it a misdemeanor criminal offense to willfully resist, delay, or obstruct a public officer, peace officer, or emergency personnel in the execution of his/her duties.  Commonly referred to as resisting arrest or obstructing justice, a conviction of this offense carries a maximum 1 year in county jail and up to $1,000 fine.

PC 148(a)1 covers a very broad range of acts that often leave arrestees scratching their heads over why they were arrested.  In our over 2 decades of specializing in criminal defense law in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California, we have encountered practically every possible scenario involving this offense.  The following are some examples out of our case files involving the charge of obstructing or delaying a peace officer:

* A motorist refusing to sign a traffic citation issued by a police officer

* Refusing to stop a camera phone video recording of a police officer during an arrest of another person despite the officer ordering the the recording to be stopped

* Refusing to provide identification to a police officer after being ordered to

* Refusing to vacate a premises after receiving a police order to do so

* Refusing to sit down on a the curb after being ordered by a police officer during a traffic detention

These are just a few examples of how easily a police officer can arrest you for obstruction.  However, it may not be as easy to convict you.

Topics:  Obstruction of Justice, Police

Published In: Criminal Law Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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