Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer

The lawyers at Ashbach Law Offices, LLC provide aggressive, strong defense for those charged with Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer allegations throughout Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Our goal is to aggressively protect you, your family and your interests from the prosecution, saving jail time, licenses, occupations and reputations. With offices in Marysville and Mill Creek, Washington, we are available to meet you discuss your case. We help good people in bad situations. Let us help you.
Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer in General
Obstructing is the willful hindering, delaying or obstruction of any law enforcement official in the discharge of that official’s powers or duties.

Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer must be based on conduct, not pure speech, and thus is subject to First Amendment limitations. In addition, refusal to identify oneself in certain situations may also implicate the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures may also be implicated by this statute.

A “law enforcement officer” is any general authority, limited authority or specially commissioned Washington peace officer or federal peace officer as those terms are defined in RCW 10.93.020, and other public officers who are responsible for enforcement of fire, building, zoning and life and safety codes.

Examples of obstructing include refusing to leave a scene of a crime when requested during an investigation, refusing to step back and stop talking to an officer from arresting another person (often seen in a DUI arrest), among others.

Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer is a Gross Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a $5000 fine. There is not mandatory minimum sentence or fine.

Additional Information
Courts have held that in some circumstances, wilfully hindering, delaying or obstructing an off-duty police officer can be punishable under this statute.

The length of time by which a law enforcement officer is delayed is immaterial. Even a brief delay is sufficient to support a charge.

Any actions alleged to be Obstructing need to have been willful, which means acting with knowledge that a particular result would be achieved.

Ashbach Law Offices, LLC, aggressively represents clients charged with Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer offenses throughout the Washington I-5 corridor, covering Skagit, Snohomish, King and Whatcom Counties. Regular courts of practice include, but are not limited to, Anacortes, Arlington, Bellevue, Bellingham, Blaine, Burlington, Edmonds, Everett, Issaquah, Lynnwood, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Mountlake Terrance, Redmond, Seattle, Sedro Woolley and Shoreline.