CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER?
YOU ARE NOT NECESSARILY BEHOLDEN TO LAW ENFORCEMENT
Obstruction is often an add-on offence or a crime charged by police when they feel that the person under police scrutiny is not effectively prostrating him or herself to police power.
To obstruct a police officer requires proof that the accused wilfully interfered with a peace officer in the execution of duty. A person is not guilty of obstructing the police for merely doing nothing, unless it can be proven that the act or omission occurred in circumstances where the accused had a legal duty to comply. For example, driver’s have a legal duty to produce their license, insurance and registration. A passenger, however, is not necessarily under any legal duty to divulge his or her identification on request of the police.
It is not unusual for police to charge for obstruction where persons, who have no legal duty to provide information, simply refuse.
The most common example of obstruction occurs when the Accused gives a false name. There is some jurisprudence supporting the argument that even if a person gives a false name, if the police were not meaningfully interfered with, obstruction has not been proven. For instance, if a detainee gives a false name but is known to the police, then the officer is not “obstructed”.
Obstruction is sometimes charged when home owners refuse to give the police warrantless access to their dwelling house. To that end, it is not unusual for police to bully their way into dwelling houses without the consent of the home occupant.
Obstruction charges are common in our criminal justice system. No doubt, many charges are levelled against deserving accused; unfortunately, however, many are not. If you have been charged with obstruction, a qualified Calgary defence lawyer might be able to help you to understand the available defences to your case.
It is a crime to intentionally resist a lawful arrest made by a peace officer. But what if the arrest is unlawful? There is Supreme Court authority that stands for the proposition that every citizen is legally entitled to resist an unlawful arrest. By way of example, a citizen is entitled to resist an arrest made in the absence of reasonble grounds. Of course, resistance must be reasoanble.
There are dangers in lawfully resisting police. Police have use of force training. They often engage citizens in numbers. They carry weapons, including deadly firearms. According to John Brix-Maffei, the author of The Wolf and the Sheepdog, police also have training with respect to their powers of articulation. The point is, the law is one thing, practicality is another.
Though I do not recommend ever resisting any police officer for any reason, if you are charged with resisting arrest, your Calgary defence lawyer can help. Call for a free consultation.
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