Obstruction and DUIs

An unusual multiple-vehicle accident involving an intoxicated driver occurred recently in Georgia. The incident began when an intoxicated driver struck three vehicles in a parking lot. The driver then drove into an adjacent parking lot. After crossing another curb, the driver struck the base of a light pole, a phone pedestal, and a crosswalk signal.

The driver then started traveling in a lane of traffic and caused a six-vehicle pileup. A second driver who was traveling in the opposing direction was struck by the intoxicated driver. The second driver proceeds to strike a third vehicle. The third driver, a fourth driver, and the fifth driver were stopped at a red light.

The second vehicle then struck the fourth driver and fifth driver. At this point, an oxygen tank flew from the second vehicle, striking the fourth vehicle, and crashing through the back glass of the fifth vehicle. A sixth vehicle was also forced off the road at the risk of almost being struck by the driver.

The second vehicle’s driver received significant injuries. The other drivers were not injured. The intoxicated driver suffered minor injuries and was charged with reckless driving, DUI, obstruction, failure to maintain lane, improper turn, hit-and-run, open container, possession of a drug-related object, and no proof of insurance.  

Obstruction Charges

In the state of Georgia, obstruction of a law enforcement officer is against the law. These charges are common additional charges in many DUI cases. The law specifically makes it against the law for an individual to “knowingly” oppose any law enforcement officer who is in the process of carrying out that officer’s legally authorized duty.

There are a variety of acts that can satisfy the definition of obstructing justice. Some of the acts that constitute obstruction including hitting a law enforcement officer, trying to fight a law enforcement officer, using profanity while talking to a law enforcement officer, offering false or misleading information, or even running from a law enforcement officer to avoid arrest.

Penalties for Obstruction

Individuals who are convicted of obstruction of a law enforcement officer can be penalized with either a misdemeanor or a felony. When an individual either threatens or actually harms law enforcement, an individual will likely be penalized with a felony while all other acts that constitute obstruction will be treated as a misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor obstruction charges in Georgia frequently result in up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, anger management classes, and community service. Felony obstruction in Georgia can result in between one to five years in prison, a fine of several thousand dollars, anger management classes, and community service.

Advice for Motorists

There are some basic pieces of advice that individuals should remember to follow to avoid being charged with obstruction of a law enforcement officer. If law enforcement signals, motorists should make sure to pull over as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

Drivers in these situations also are willing to immediately provide law enforcement with documentation if asked. Individuals should also remember to stay calm and avoid running from or attempting to leave the vehicle for fear of receiving an obstruction charge.

The Assistance of a Top DUI Attorney

If you face an obstruction charge due to a DUI, you likely need strong and experienced legal counsel like the legal representation at Yeargan & Kert, LLC to help defend your case.