When a person has an argument or dispute with a police officer who is on duty, the encounter sometimes ends with charges of obstruction of justice and resisting arrest. Depending on the circumstances, obstruction of justice can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The majority of cases are a class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to Virginia Code § 18.2-460, which includes obstruction of justice, resisting arrest, and fleeing a police officer. This means most people who need to defend themselves against this charge are facing no more then 12 months in jail with a fine of not more than $2,500.
Fortunately, merely upsetting or disagreeing with a police officer is not a crime. Virginia law requires a court to find you guilty of obstruction of justice only if you've done something to impede either the administration of justice or a police officer's ability to do his job.
In order for you to be convicted of resisting arrest, the prosecutor will have to prove you did something to prevent an officer from applying physical force against you or that you did something to prevent an officer with authority to arrest from taking you into custody after he told you that you were under arrest. The same is true for fleeing an officer—the Commonwealth must prove you knew or legal should have known you were running from an officer and not some random guy…
Obstruction of justice, resisting arrest, and fleeing from a police officer are three charges where you will need an attorney to help you in court. In both cases, prosecutors often ask a judge for active or suspended jail time in addition to a fine.
If you've been charged with obstruction of justice, resisting arrest, or fleeing a police officer, call us at (703)591-4868 to schedule a free consultation. You will speak with an experienced, compassionate attorney who will help you evaluate your case and pursue the best result possible.