Obstructing Official Business

Columbus and Delaware, Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Columbus or Delaware, Ohio, contact Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio criminal defense attorney. Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC will discuss your case and assist you in fighting the charges. Call (614) 987-0192 or send an email to schedule a consultation regarding your misdemeanor offense case.

What is Obstructing Official Business?

Under ORC 2921.31, it is a crime to prevent, obstruct or delay a public official (i.e., police officer) in the performance of his or her official duties. This covers a broad range of acts, such as fleeing from a police officer after being ordered to stop or lying to a police officer.

Penalties for Obstructing Official Business in Ohio

Obstructing official business is typically a 2nd degree misdemeanor under Ohio law. This charge carries a maximum 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. However, if the violation creates a risk of physical harm to a person, obstructing official business can be charged as a 5th degree felony.

In addition to criminal penalties, there are secondary consequences for an obstructing official business conviction. These include difficulty maintaining your current employment, obtaining future employment, and maintaining professional licenses. Obstructing official business is a serious offense under Ohio law and, if convicted, will be on your permanent criminal record.

Possible Defenses for Ohio Obstructing Official Business

Two common and effective defenses to a charge of obstructing official business include not committing an affirmative act and failure to impede the police officer’s investigation.

Affirmative Act

An affirmative act must be committed in order to be found guilty of obstructing official business. Thus, failing to act will not result in conviction. In a recent Ohio case, City of Brooklyn v. Kaczur, the court held that refusing to identify yourself when asked by the police is not an affirmative act. Thus, it is not a crime under the obstructing official business statute.

Another case, Lakewood v. Simpson, held that refusing to allow the police into your home is not an affirmative act. Refusing to “respond to the building entrance buzzer, open his door at the officers’ request, or consent to their entry are not affirmative acts, but omissions.”

Failure to Impede the Police Officer’s Investigation

Your affirmative act must actually impede the police officer’s investigation for you to be found guilty of obstructing official business. In a recent Ohio case, State v. Crawford, the court held that yelling “police” and slamming the door when you see the police coming to your house was not obstructing official business.

Criminal Defense Attorney – Columbus and Delaware, Ohio

If you have been charged with obstructing official business, you should hire an attorney immediately. Contact Attorney David Johnson of Johnson Legal, LLC and speak with an experienced Columbus and Delaware, Ohio criminal defense attorney. Attorney Johnson will examine your case and assist you in putting forth the strongest defense possible. Call Johnson Legal, LLC at (614) 987-0192 or send Attorney David Johnson an email.