Obstructing a police officer, firefighter or EMT in Colorado
Section 18-8-104 of the Colorado Revised Statutes makes it a misdemeanor to use or threaten violence, force, physical interference, or an obstacle in order to knowingly prevent or try to keep any of the following from doing their job:
- A peace officer or law enforcement animal,
- A firefighter or firefighting animal,
- An emergency medical services provider (EMT),
- A rescue specialist, or
- A volunteer acting in good faith to render care or assistance without compensation at the place of an emergency or accident.
Penalties for obstructing a peace officer or other emergency personnel
Obstructing a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical service provider, rescue specialist, or volunteer is a Colorado class 2 misdemeanor.
Colorado punishment for obstruction can include:
- 3-12 months in jail, and/or
- A fine of $250-$1,000.
Defending against Colorado obstruction charges
While not a complete list by any means, common defenses to Colorado 18-8-104 C.R.S. often include:
- The peace officer or other emergency worker was not acting under color of his or her official authority at the time of the alleged offense;
- You didn't know you were obstructing one of the officials covered by this law (either because you didn't realize you were interfering or because the person was not in uniform and didn't offer identification);
- You were acting in self-defense or defense of another;
- A peace officer was using excessive force against you or someone else; or
- There was police misconduct (such as a coerced confession).
It is NOT a defense that the peace officer was acting unlawfully
18-8-104 C.R.S (2) provides:
It is not a defense to a prosecution under this section that the peace officer was acting in an illegal manner, if he or she was acting under color of his or her official authority. A peace officer acts “under color of his or her official authority” if, in the regular course of assigned duties, he or she makes a judgment in good faith based on surrounding facts and circumstances that he or she must act to enforce the law or preserve the peace.
If the peace officer was acting outside the scope of his or her authority, you must usually comply with the officer instructions and challenge them at a later time. However, you may still interfere with the officer (and raise it as an affirmative defense) if:
- You were acting in justifiable self-defense or defense of another, or
- The officer used excessive force.
Call us for help…
If you or someone you know has been charged with a violation of Colorado 18-8-104 C.R.S., we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
Our caring Colorado criminal defense lawyers understand how difficult it can be to stay out of the way during an emergency. As a result, innocent people often find themselves hit with obstruction charges, even when all they were doing was trying to help.
To obtain the promptest response from a Colorado attorney with experience fighting charges such as obstruction and resisting arrest, simply fill out the confidential form on this page.
Or call us at our Denver home office:
Colorado Legal Defense Group
1400 16th Street
16 Market Square
Denver CO 80202