India Martin posted on Facebook last year that she was a victim of police brutality. Her post was as follows: “#policebrutality is NOT always white on black crime. I'm going to personally ask EVERYONE to share this post. This happened at the Fort Valley Police Department by an officer Jordan who LIED to my mother about how this occurred. He actually led her to believe that this happened at my home, which is NOT TRUE.”
She posted several photos of a gash on her head and of bruised limbs. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was brought in, and agents couldn't find evidence to back up Martin's claims.
However, she was indicted for obstruction and battery in Georgia on March 6. The evidence actually showed that Martin kicked, fought, and resisted officers before she was actually detained.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I am familiar with there being two very different sides to every story. When people assume guilt on either side without proof or evidence, it causes a lot of damage. In today's post I will outline the law behind obstruction in Georgia.
Obstruction in Georgia
Georgia Obstruction of a Law Enforcement Officeris defined by the Georgia Code in two separate degrees: misdemeanor obstruction and felony obstruction.
A misdemeanor obstruction charge is defined by the Georgia Code as:
“When a person knowingly or willfully obstructs or hinders any law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties.” O.C.G.A. §16-10-24(a).
If convicted of the misdemeanor obstruction offense, the penalty can include up to twelve months in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, or both.
A felony obstruction charge is defined by the Georgia Code as:
“When a person knowingly and willfully resists, obstructs, or opposes any law enforcement officer, prison guard, correctional officer, community supervision officer, probation officer, or conservation officer in the lawful discharge of his or her official duties by offering or doing violence to the person.” O.C.G.A. §16-10-24(b).
If convicted of the felony obstruction offense, the penalty can include anywhere from one to five years in prison, a minimum fine of $300, community service, or anger management classes.
Examples of obstruction include resisting, running, threatening, hitting, kicking, lying, or offering violence to an officer. But just as I mentioned above, there are situations which there are wrongful accusations of obstruction. Some Georgia Criminal Defenses for obstruction include a lack of intent, evidence, or probable cause for arrest.