Obstruction of Justice Laws in Colorado

Obstruction of justice in Colorado occurs when a person commits violence or otherwise:

  • hinders,
  • interferes,
  • obstructs, or
  • impairs

the justice system in Colorado. Unlike many other states, obstruction of justice is not one specific crime. Instead, it applies to a series of different crimes, all of which fall under the umbrella of "obstruction."

Types of Obstruction Charges

Obstruction of justice charges include:

Defending Against Obstruction of Justice Charges

Due to the wide variety of offenses listed under the obstruction chapter in Colorado, no one defense fits every situation. Instead, what you need is experienced legal counsel who is familiar with Colorado obstruction law and how to defend your case in your particular situation.

Below, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss the following frequently asked questions about obstruction of justice charges for Colorado residents.

Scales of justice
Obstruction of justice in Colorado occurs when a person commits violence or otherwise hinders, interferes, obstructs, or impairs the justice system in Colorado.

1. What is obstruction of justice in Colorado?

Obstruction of justice in Colorado occurs when a person:

  • hinders,
  • interferes,
  • commits violence,
  • obstructs, or
  • impairs

the justice system in Colorado.1 Unlike many other states, obstruction of justice is not one specific crime. Instead, it applies to a series of different crimes, all of which fall under the umbrella of "obstruction."

Below, the Colorado Legal Defense Group gives a brief overview of the different obstruction of justice charges in our state.

2. What is obstructing government operations?

A person commits this offense when he or she intentionally

  • obstructs,
  • impairs, or
  • hinders

the performance of a governmental function by a public servant by using or threatening to use

  • violence,
  • force,
  • physical interference, or
  • physical obstacle.2

The charge is a Class 3 misdemeanor. It is punishable by:

  • up to 6 months in jail
  • a fine of $50 to $750, or
  • both.3

3. What is resisting arrest?

A person resists arrest if he or she knowingly prevents or attempts to prevent a peace officer, acting under color of his or her official authority from making an arrest by:

  • using physical force or violence against the officer; or
  • using any means which creates a substantial risk of bodily injury to the officer. 4

The charge is a Class 2 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person faces:

  • possible jail term of 3 to 12 months
  • a fine of $250 to $1,000, or
  • both. 5

4. What is obstructing a peace officer?

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.

It applies not only to police officers, but also to:

  • a peace officer (police officer)
  • firefighter
  • emergency medical services provider
  • rescue specialist, or
  • volunteer.6

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

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

5. What is an accessory to a crime?

A person is an accessory to a crime if he or she:

  • renders assistance to a person
  • with the intent to hinder, delay, or prevent the
    • discovery,
    • detection,
    • apprehension,
    • prosecution,
    • conviction, or
    • punishment of that person for the commission of a crime.7

Depending on the facts of the case, a person convicted of accessory to crime may be guilty of a felony or petty offense.

6. What is a refusal to permit inspections?

A person commits this offense if he or she, knowing that public servant is legally authorized to inspect property:

  • refuses to produce or make available the property for inspection at a reasonable hour, or
  • if the property is available for inspection he refuses to permit the inspection. 8

A violation of this section is a Class 1 petty offense.

7. What is refusing to aid a peace officer?

A person commits this offense if he or she unreasonably refuses or fails to aid a peace officer after he or she has commanded assistance to:

  • effect or secure an arrest; or
  • prevent the commission of any offense by another person. 9

A violation of this section is a Class 1 petty offense.

8. What is the offense of compounding?

CRS 18-8-108 is the Colorado code section that defines the criminal offense of compounding in Colorado.

The crime of compounding occurs when a person accepts or agrees to accept a monetary benefit in exchange for agreeing not to:

  • prosecute an offender; or
  • report a crime, suspected crime, or information relating to a crime to law enforcement authorities. 10

The crime of compounding is a Class 3 misdemeanor in the State of Colorado. The penalties for this offense include:

  • up to 6 months in jail
  • a fine of $50 up to a maximum possible fine of $750, or
  • both.

9. What is the offense of concealing death?

A person commits this offense if he or she:

  • conceals the death of another person, and thereby
  • prevents a determination of the cause or circumstances of the death.11

This offense is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person may face:

  • 6 to 18 months in jail
  • a fine of $500 to $5,000, or
  • both.

10. What is a false report of explosives, weapons, or harmful substances?

A person commits this crime if he or she:

  • reports to any other person that:
    • a bomb or any other explosive,
    • chemical or biological agent,
    • poison,
    • weapon, or
    • a radioactive substance has been placed in any public or private place or vehicle designed for transportation of person or property; and
  • knows the report is false.12

If convicted, a person faces Class 6 felony penalties as follows:

  • 1 year to 18 months in prison
  • a fine of $1,000 to $100,000, or
  • both.13

11. What is false reporting to authorities?

A person commits the offense of false reporting to authorities if he or she knowingly:

  • causes a false alarm or other emergency device to sound within an emergency services agency (e.g., a fire department or ambulance);
  • prevents the activation of an alarm;
  • makes a false report of a crime; or
  • provides false identifying information to authorities. 14

False reporting to authorities is either a Class 2 or Class 3 misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the offense.

12. What is impersonating a peace officer?

CRS § 18-8-112 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of impersonating a peace officer. A person commits this offense if he or she:

  • falsely pretends to be a policeman or policewoman, and
  • performs an act while pretending that role. 15

A peace officer is defined as either:

  • a policeman or policewoman in uniform; or, if out of uniform,
  • one who has identified him or herself by exhibiting his or her credentials as a peace officer.

Impersonating a peace officer is a Class 6 felony in this state. Penalties for the offense include:

  • twelve to 18 months in jail
  • a fine of $1,000 up to a maximum of $100,000, and
  • mandatory parole for one year.

13. What is impersonating a public servant?

CRS 18-8-113 is the Colorado code section defining the offense of impersonating a public servant.

A person commits this offense if he or she:

  • falsely pretends to be a public servant other than a peace officer; and
  • performs any act in the pretended capacity. 16

A public servant is defined as:

  • any officer or employee of the government, whether elected or appointed;
  • any person participating as an advisor, consultant, process server; or
  • any person who otherwise performs a governmental function.

Police officers are also considered public servants, but as "peace officers" they are excluded from this section. Impersonation of a police officer is charged as a different criminal offense.

14. What is abuse of public records?

CRS 18-8-114 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of Abuse of Records.

A person commits this offense if he or she:

  • knowingly makes a false entry in or falsely alters any public record;
  • knowing the person lacks authority to do so, knowingly destroys, mutilates, conceals, removes, or impairs the availability of a public record;
  • knowing the person lacks authority to keep the record, refuses to deliver the public record after a proper request for that record;
  • knowing the person has not been authorized by the keeper of the public record to do so, knowingly alters any public record.

15. What is a duty to report a crime - liability for disclosure?

Every person or corporation in Colorado who has reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has been committed is duty-bound to report the suspected crime promptly to law enforcement authorities. 17

Failure to report the crime is itself considered a criminal offense under Colorado law.

16. What is disarming a peace officer?

CRS § 18-8-116 is the Colorado code section that defines the offense of disarming a peace or police officer. A person commits this offense if he or she knowingly and without justification and without consent removes from a peace officer acting under color of his or her official authority any of the following:

  • a firearm,
  • a self-defense electronic control device,
  • a direct-contact stun device, or
  • other similar device.18

Under Colorado law, the offense is a Class 5 felony and is punishable by:

  • one to 3 years in Colorado State Prison
  • a fine between $1,000 and $100,000, and
  • mandatory parole period of 2 years.

In many cases, Colorado prosecutors charge people with an attempt to commit the offense (when the person is unsuccessful in disarming the policeman). The attempt is a Class 6 felony and is punishable by:

  • twelve to 18 months in prison
  • up to $100,000 in fines, and
  • one year mandatory parole period.

17. What is the unlawful sale of publicly provided services or appointments?

A person commits the offense of unlawful sale of publicly provided services or appointments if he or she:

  • reserves or obtains the service or appointment and sells the same;
  • intends to sell the service or appointment; or
  • makes a false representation to a buyer about the service or appointment.19

 

Call support2

Call us for help...

For questions about obstruction of justice charges 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. CRS 18-8-101 (Definitions).
  2. CRS 18-8-102 (Obstructing government operations).
  3. CRS 18-1.3-501 (Misdemeanor penalty classifications).
  4. CRS 18-8-103 (Resisting Arrest).
  5. Same as footnote 3.
  6. CRS 18-8-104 (Obstructing a Peace Officer).
  7. CRS 18-8-105 (Accessory to Crime).
  8. CRS 18-8-106 (Refusal to Permit Inspections).
  9. CRS 18-8-107 (Refusing to Aid a Peace Officer).
  10. CRS 18-8-108 (Compounding).
  11. CRS 18-8-109 (Concealing Death).
  12. CRS 18-8-110 (False report of explosives, weapons, or harmful substances).
  13. CRS 18-1.3-401 (Felony penalty classifications).
  14. CRS 18-8-111 (False reporting to authorities).
  15. CRS 18-8-112 (Impersonating a Peace Officer).
  16. CRS 18-8-113 (Impersonating a Public Servant).
  17. CRS 18-8-115 (Duty to report a crime - liability for disclosure).
  18. CRS 18-8-116 (Disarming a Peace Officer).
  19. CRS 18-8-117 (Unlawful sale of publicly provided services or appointments).

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

To contact us, please select your state:

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370