Obstruct Police

Defending Obstruct Police Charges in Toronto, Ontario.

It is a crime in Canada to resist or intentionally obstruct a police officer in the lawful execution of his duty.This article reviews the law surrounding obstructing police charges in Toronto, Ontario. Those looking for advice on this, or any criminal charge, should consult a criminal lawyer.

Frequently asked questions about obstructing a police officer:

What is the definition of “obstruction”?

The definition of “obstruction” that has generally been applied by the court occurs when a person makes it more difficult for the police to carry out their duties. It is generally not an defence to argue that the police were eventually able to carry out their duties despite the attempt to obstruct them from doing so.

What does the Crown Attorney need to prove to show a person obstructed the police?

The Crown must first prove that there was an obstructing of a police officer. They must also prove that the police officer was acting pursuant to a lawful purpose. Next the Crown must prove that the obstructing affected the officer in the execution of a duty that he was then executing, and lastly they must prove that the person who obstructed the officer did so intentionally. Someone who unintentionally obstructs a police officer by accidentally (as opposed to intentionally) providing the officer with false information would not be guilty of this offence.

Would giving a false name or identification to the police amount to an obstruction?

It depends on the circumstances of the case. Where the police are entitled to request a person’s name, it is incumbent on that person to provide a truthful answer to the question. A false answer may constitute an obstruction. However, in some cases, the police officer had no right to request a person’s identification. In those circumstances, it can be argued that they were not “in the lawful execution of their duty” as required by section 129 of the Criminal Code. Whether the officer was in the lawful execution of their duty is ultimately a question for the judge to decide at an accused person’s trial.

Would refusing to give my identification to the police amount to an obstruction?

Once again, context is important. If a person is under a legal obligation to provide identification (such as to allow the officer to issue a valid ticket for speeding etc.) the failure to provide identification may amount to an obstruction of the police officer. However, if an officer simply demanded identification without lawful authority to do so, it would not meet the definition of an obstruction.

What is the punishment for obstructing a police officer?

It is difficult to guess at the type of punishment a person could receive for obstructing a police officer. In some cases, a person may be given a criminal record, placed on probation or given a fine. In more serious cases, or where the person has related criminal history, the punishment could amount to jail time.

If you or someone you know has been charged with obstructing a police officer, you should immediately contact a criminal lawyer to determine your best defence to this type of criminal charge. The lawyers at Daniel Brown Law can be reached for a consultation at (416) 297-7200.