OBSTRUCTING ADMINISTRATION OF LAW OR OTHER GOVERNMENTAL FUNCTION IN PA
Obstructing the administration of law or other governmental functions is classified under Chapter 51 of the PA Crimes Code prohibiting the obstruction of governmental operations. It is also commonly referred to as obstructing law enforcement, obstructing justice or obstruction of justice. If you are charged with this offense, you have likely made yourself a target of law enforcement, and should retain a lawyer as soon as possible.
OBSTRUCTING ADMINISTRATION OF LAW OR OTHER GOVERNMENTAL FUNCTION DEFINITION AND PENALTIES
The obstructing administration of law offense can be found at Title 18 Section 5101 of the PA Crimes Code. This charge is graded as a 2nd Degree Misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of up to 2 years in jail and a $5,000 fine. A person commits this offense if he or she:
Acts intentionally, or acted with the conscious purpose of committing this crime;
Obstructed, impaired, perverted the administration of law, or a governmental function by unlawful force, unlawful violence, through an unlawful physical interference or obstacle, by breaching an official duty, or by committing an act that otherwise violated the law.
The statute further provides that a person must affirmatively interfere with government functions, and should not be convicted of this offense if he or she merely tried to avoid complying with the law without interfering with a government function. The government must provide that a person charged with this offense did something more than run from police or refuse to submit to an arrest.
WHY AM I BEING CHARGED WITH OBSTRUCTING THE ADMINISTRATION OF LAW OR OTHER GOVERNMENTAL FUNCTIONS?
There are many possible factual scenarios that could lead to the filing of an obstruction of justice charge. Although this is not commonly charged in Pennsylvania, our office has seen this charge be filed under the following circumstances:
A person interferes with police executing a search or arrest warrant;
A person interferes with police making an arrest or apprehending another person. Under this scenario, the person will also likely be charged with Hindering Apprehension;
A person engages in activity at a governmental office, building or agency that impacts its operations;
A person refuses to identify himself or herself to members of law enforcement upon request;
A person or public official tips off another person that they’re facing a criminal investigation.
Although these are examples where individuals were charged with obstruction, these scenarios did not necessarily lead to conviction.
HOW THE ZUCKERMAN LAW FIRM CAN HELP
If you are facing a charge for Obstructing the Administration of Law or other Government Function, it is important to obtain qualified legal counsel to represent you. Your attorney can research case law on the specific facts in your case to argue pre-trial motions, or it may be possible to dispose of your case at the magistrate level once and for all. For a free consultation, call the Zuckerman Law Firm at 412-447-5580 today.