Obstructing a Peace Officer in Calgary
A “peace officer” is defined in section 2 of the Criminal Code and covers a wide range of people. The definition includes: police officers, sheriffs, corrections officers, on-duty soldiers, Justices of the Peace, and mayors.
The charge of resisting or obstructing a peace officer covers a very wide range of activity. The two most common scenarios in which we see people charged with obstructing or resisting are:
- In a situation in which you are obligated to identify yourself (such as a vehicle stop), you give a false name, birthdate, or other misleading or inaccurate information
- You physically try to prevent the police from taking hold of you, handcuffing you, and/or placing you in a police vehicle
In certain situations, such as during a vehicle stop or after being lawfully arrested, you are obligated to identify yourself to a peace officer. Thus, providing false information as to your identity is considered obstruction under this section.
Similarly, if you are lawfully arrested, you are not entitled to resist the police while they make that arrest. For your safety, we do not recommend resisting any arrest. Whether the arrest is lawful or not is almost always a legally complex issue, and you can get a remedy for an unlawful arrest in court, and/ or if the police used excessive force against you when trying to make the arrest.
Bail Conditions for Obstructing A Peace Officer Offence
Since you are charged with an offence against a person responsible for the enforcement of the law and the administration of justice, the Judge may hesitate to release you while your case works its way through court, because he/she may doubt that you will come to court or obey release conditions. We can help persuade the Judge that your detention is not necessary.
Defending Obstructing A Peace Officer Charge
We start with a through review of all the evidence the police have against you, including all the statements of the peace officers who allegedly saw the offence. Then, because we know there are two sides to every story, we will thoroughly review the evidence with you to determine the strength of the prosecution’s case against you and any defences you may have to the charge. Our analysis may focus on one or more of the below issues:
- Were the police acting in the execution of their duty when you committed the alleged offence?
- Was your resistance intentional, or an accident or reflex?
- Did the police use excessive force in arresting you?
- Were you in a situation where you were legally required to obey the peace officer?
- Was the person you resisted or obstructed a “peace officer” as defined by the Criminal Code?
The penalties for resist/obstruct can include up to two years in jail, fines of several thousand dollars, and/ or up to three years of probation.
We are skilled at negotiating resolutions that minimize the impact on your current life and future prospects. In appropriate cases, we may be able to negotiate a guilty plea to a non-criminal charge, or convince the prosecutor to divert your case to the Alternative Measures Program.