Many people each year in Utah are cited or arrested for Interference with Arresting Officer. The problem in many cases is that the law on this issue does not extend to the conduct alleged by the police and a charge of this nature should never have been brought. We have seen many cases in our years of defending people accused of such crimes, in which the police were totally unjustified in the accusations and charge for interference. In Utah, interfering with an officer’s arrest can result in a class B misdemeanor. As of the date this article is being written, the interference statute states as follows:
A person is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if he has knowledge, or by the exercise of reasonable care should have knowledge, that a peace officer is seeking to effect a lawful arrest or detention of that person or another and interferes with the arrest or detention by:
(1) use of force or any weapon;
(2) the arrested person’s refusal to perform any act required by lawful order:
(a) necessary to effect the arrest or detention; and
(b) made by a peace officer involved in the arrest or detention; or
(3) the arrested person’s or another person’s refusal to refrain from performing any act that would impede the arrest or detention.
As you can see the statute is very specific, and limiting, upon what circumstances a person would be guilty of interfering with an arrest in Utah. Where the officer’s can often not meet the statutory requirements is under (2)(a) because often the police command someone to do something and they refuse, yet the act being commanded was not “necessary to effect the arrest or detention.” By way of example, let’s say you are stopped by police and you are smoking a cigarette and they ask you to put out the cigarette and you refuse. Could the police then charge you with interference? They may but they also might have a difficult time convincing a judge or jury that putting out your cigarette was necessary for them to arrest or detain you and might very well lost the case at trial.
Utah Criminal Defense Attorney
When charged with Interference with Arresting Officer in Utah, be sure to speak with a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney at Utah Defenders before doing anything else. You may not be guilty under the plain language of the statute. We will review your facts and help you decide whether or not you should pursue a defense. We offer free consultations at all hours of the day or night so there is no reason not to at least pick up the phone and get advice on your particular situation. We fight hard to keep the police honest in these cases and will help ensure you get through this in the best possible way.