CRS 18-8-104 - Obstructing a Peace Officer in Colorado

C.R.S. § 18-8-104 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of Obstructing a Peace Officer. Under the code section, a person may obstruct:

  • a peace officer (police officer);
  • firefighter;
  • emergency medical services provider;
  • rescue specialist; or
  • volunteer.

What is Obstruction?

A person commits "obstruction" when he or she -- by using or threatening to use violence, force, or physical interference -- knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the:

  • enforcement of the penal law,
  • preservation of peace,
  • abatement of fire by a firefighter, or
  • application of medical treatment or emergency assistance.

Animals of Law Enforcement

Colorado law protects animals used in law enforcement or fire prevention from harm. The law makes it illegal to obstruct the animal's duty through:

  • threats or violence against;
  • the use of force;
  • physical interference; or
  • by placing an obstacle in front of or around the animal.

Illegal Acts of Peace Officer Not a Defense

A person charged with this offense may not argue that a peace officer was acting illegally in the course of his or her duties.

So long as the peace officer was acting "under color of his or her official authority," the offense may still be charged so long as the peace officer:

  • acted in the regular course of his or her assigned duties,
  • made a judgment in good faith based on the surrounding facts and circumstances, and
  • took action to enforce the law or preserve the peace.

Penalties for Conviction

Obstructing a police officer is a class 2 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person faces the following possible penalties:

  • three to 12 months in jail; and/or
  • a fine of $250 to $1,000.

Related Offenses

Certain Colorado offenses are very closely related to the offense of Obstructing a Peace Officer:

Below, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following frequently asked questions about the offense of Obstructing a Police Officer for Colorado residents:

Police officer notes ss
C.R.S. § 18-8-116 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of disarming a peace officer.

1. What is obstructing a peace officer in Colorado?

C.R.S. § 18-8-104 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of Obstructing a Peace Officer. Under this section, a person may obstruct:

  • a peace officer (police officer)
  • firefighter
  • emergency medical services provider
  • rescue specialist, or
  • volunteer. 1

The actual code section states:

(1) (a) A person commits obstructing a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical services provider, rescue specialist, or volunteer when, by using or threatening to use violence, force, physical interference, or an obstacle, such person knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the enforcement of the penal law or the preservation of the peace by a peace officer, acting under color of his or her official authority; knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the prevention, control, or abatement of fire by a firefighter, acting under color of his or her official authority; knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the administration of medical treatment or emergency assistance by an emergency medical service provider or rescue specialist, acting under color of his or her official authority; or knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the administration of emergency care or emergency assistance by a volunteer, acting in good faith to render such care or assistance without compensation at the place of an emergency or accident.

2. What is obstruction?

A person commits "obstruction" when he or she, by using or threatening to use violence, force, or physical interference, knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the:

  • enforcement of the penal law,
  • preservation of peace,
  • abatement of fire by a firefighter, or
  • application of medical treatment or emergency assistance. 2

2.1 What are some examples of obstruction of a police officer?

Some common examples of obstruction include but are not limited to:

  • Verbally threatening harm to police;
  • Blocking firefighters from putting out a fire;
  • Stopping or attempting to stop a policeman from making an arrest or writing a ticket;
  • Crossing yellow police tape;
  • Uses force to block medical treatment for a person; or
  • Giving police false information.

The code section is intentionally vague, and broad. A lot of different conduct could be charged as obstruction, but with experienced legal help you can fight the charges against you.

3. Can I be charged for obstructing a police or fire animal?

Yes. The same types of acts that may get a Colorado resident charged for obstruction against a human police officer or firefighter may result in a charge for the same actions against an animal.

This most commonly occurs with police dogs, and usually includes behavior like:

  • threatening a police or fire animal,
  • tackling a police dog,
  • kicking or punching a police dog, or
  • attempting to block a drug- or bomb-sniffing dog from doing its job. 3

4. May I stop a police officer that is acting illegally?

A person charged with this offense may not argue that a peace officer was acting illegally in the course of his or her duties.

So long as the official was acting "under color of his or her official authority," the offense may still be charged against an alleged offender so long as the peace officer:

  • acted in the regular course of his or her assigned duties;
  • made a judgment in good faith based on the surrounding facts and circumstances; and
  • took actions to enforce the law or preserve the peace.

Challenging a peace officer's illegal actions is best done in a court of law, not in the heat of the moment. 4

5. What are the penalties if I am convicted?

Obstructing a peace officer is a class 2 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person faces the following possible penalties:

  • three to 12 months in jail; and/or
  • a fine of $250 to $1,000.

6. Are there available defenses?

Common defenses to obstruction of a peace officer often include things like:

  • the peace officer or another emergency worker not acting under color of his or her official authority at the time of the alleged offense;
  • an alleged offender not knowing he or she was obstructing an official covered by this law (either because lack of realizing he or she was interfering or because the person was not in uniform and didn't offer identification);
  • an alleged offender was acting in self-defense or defense of another5;
  • a peace officer was using excessive force against the person; or
  • there was police misconduct (such as a coerced confession).

7. Related Offenses

Certain Colorado offenses are very closely related to the offense of Obstructing a Peace Officer.

Disarming a Peace Officer (C.R.S. 18-8-116) occurs when a person knowingly removes:

  • a firearm,
  • stun gun,
  • or other similar device of a peace officer while under color of their official authority. 6

Impersonating a Peace Officer (C.R.S. 18-8-112) occurs when a person:

  • falsely pretends to be a peace officer; and
  • performs an act within the capacity (or job functions) of a peace officer. 7
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For questions about the offense of obstructing a peace officer or to confidentially discuss your case with one of our skilled Colorado criminal defense attorneys, do not hesitate to contact us.

We represent clients in and around Denver, Colorado Springs, Aurora, Fort Collins, Lakewood, and several nearby cities.


Legal References:

  1. C.R.S. § 18-8-104(1)(a).
  2. Same as footnote 1. (Defining the nature of obstruction).
  3. C.R.S. § 18-8-104(1)(b).
  4. C.R.S. § 18-8-104(2). (Describing "color of authority" under Colorado law.)
  5. People v. Barrus, 232 P.3d 264 (2010) ("Self-defense is an available defense against the charge of obstructing a peace officer").
  6. C.R.S. 18-8-116.
  7. C.R.S. 18-8-112.

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