Understanding Legal Challenges

Ways to Avoid Obstruction Charges When the Police Arrest a Family Member

It's never a good sign when police officers arrive at your home to arrest a family member. But, whether it's your spouse, partner, or teenager, the last thing that you want is to also find yourself in handcuffs. Many people in this situation end up facing obstruction charges because they interfere with the arrest of a loved one. You need to accept that when there are police on your front step, they're going to take your loved one with them — and it doesn't help the situation if you end up going, too. Here are some different ways that you can avoid obstruction charges in this situation.

Allow Access to the Person

If your spouse, partner, or teen knows that he or she is being pursued, he or she won't commonly answer the door. This means that you may find yourself facing police officers who are asking if the person in question is home. Professionals, like those at Daniels Long & Pinsel our first instinct might be to lie and say that he or she isn't, but this answer is unlikely to fix the situation. Instead, the officers may enter with a warrant, and when they find that their target is indeed under your roof, it's possible that you'll get hit with a charge of obstruction. It's always better to admit that the person is present and allow the officers to enter.

Don't Interfere

One of the worst things that you can do is to interfere with the arrest. This is a type of behavior that can quickly lead to you being placed in handcuffs and charged with obstruction. Beyond allowing access to the person in question, don't interfere in any way. This means that you shouldn't try to position yourself between the officers and your loved one or, worse, attempt to hold a police officer back so that he or she cannot detain your family member. Your compliance in every regard is the best way to avoid an obstruction charge.

Encourage the Person's Cooperation

Even if you aren't physically interfering, verbally doing so could put you at risk of obstruction. For example, if you were to tell your loved one to fight the officers, to run and hide, or to otherwise resist, the police may feel that you're obstructing their investigation. You can prove to be an asset if your loved one isn't cooperating. By clearly telling him or her to do so, you'll help the situation and decrease the risk of your family member getting hurt.