Legal Question in Criminal Law in Georgia

Obstruction of Justice

Trying to help the owners of a restaurant, in which I am not employed, I took a beverage order from some customers. One guy wanted a beer, so I checked his drivers license to make sure he was legal. He asked, ''Do you have a serving permit?'' I said, ''Yes.'' Assuming he meant the permit on the wall. He said, ''I need to see it.'' ''Are you serious?'' I replied. ''Yeah!'' he replied as he flashed a necklace at me that look as if it had a badge on it. I said, ''One moment. Let me get it.'' He said, ''OK''. So I went and told the owner that some guy wanted to see the liquor license. She said that she would take care of it. Not knowing I had committed a crime, I left to go get my medication that I need to function. Half way to my house I get a phone call telling me that I need to get back to the restaurant because the police need to talk to me. I said, ''OK, I am on my way.'' and immediately rushed back to the restaurant. I had to search around to find the police and told them I came as fast as I could. The guy yelled at me, pushed me up against a car, and handcuffed me. I was told that I was under arrest for obstruction of justice. I didn't even know I had broken a law. Am I guilty of Obstruction of Justice?

Asked on 3/27/09, 2:35 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Kendall Carter The Law Offices of Kendall W. Carter, LLC

Re: Obstruction of Justice

You may be formally charged with midemeanor obstruction, which is defined as "knowingly and wilfully obstructing or hindering any law enforcement officer in the lawful discharge of his official duties". Assuming that the officer was discharging his official duties by investigating whether you were old enough to serve alcohol, then he could argue that you intentionally left to avoid being questioned. That would make out a prima facie case of misdemeanor obstruction. However, I think you probably have a pretty good defense based on your state of mind, and possibly on the conduct of the officer as well.

Please contact me via email if I may be of service.

Kendall Carter

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Answered on 3/27/09, 9:30 am

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