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Interacting with Law Enforcement

Posted by Steve Karimi | Oct 05, 2018 | 0 Comments

In April 2018, former-MLB player Jayson Werth was arrested in Arizona for allegedly driving under the influence. The Scottsdale police officer pulled Werth over for driving with an expired registration at which time he suspected that Werth had been drinking. A video recently surfaced which shows Werth trying to mediate the ordeal by handing the officer a “courtesy card” that showed that he was an MLB baseball player. When the officer asked Werth to complete a field sobriety test, the baseball player refused, telling the officer, “I'm just not sure I trust you.” The officer subsequently placed Jayson Werth under arrest for DUI and Werth later submitted to a blood test which showed he had a .12 blood alcohol content.

Interacting with the Police in Washington State

Confrontations with law enforcement, in any location, at any time, are never a nice experience. Often, you may feel powerless when forced to interact with a police officer and it may seem like the officer has all of the power; however, this is not always true. Police officers are public servants and they are not allowed to abuse the great responsibility bestowed upon them. Typically, an officer will approach you under the assumption that you are a criminal, and the obstructing justice or resisting arrest can be very subjective to the police officer involved.

Obstructing a Law Enforcement Officer

In the scenario above, if the officer began to feel threatened or hindered in performing his job because Werth did not trust him then obstruction of justice would have been an easy crime to pin on him since the officer can say that nearly anything is “hindering” his job. The Washington State Code says the following on obstructing a law enforcement officer:

  • “A person is guilty of obstructing a law enforcement officer if the person willfully hinders, delays, or obstructs any law enforcement officer in the discharge of his or her official powers or duties.”
  • “A person is guilty of resisting arrest if he or she intentionally prevents or attempts to prevent a peace officer from lawfully arresting him or her.”

If you are convicted of obstructing a law enforcement officer, the charge is typically a gross misdemeanor.

Resisting Arrest

Much like obstructing a law enforcement officer, charging someone with resisting arrest is also easy to pin on an alleged criminal. Nearly any sign that you may physically resist being arrested, if perceived by the officers to be a threat, may fall under the umbrella of resisting arrest. Resisting arrest, under Washington State law, reads as follows:

If a person is found guilty of resisting arrest the charge is a misdemeanor. Of course, keep in mind that charges for both resisting arrest and obstructing a law enforcement officer may be elevated if a physical struggle ensues.

Call the Law Offices of Steve Karimi

If a physical altercation with a police officer does happen, please protect yourself and do not struggle. Remember as many details as you can and file a complaint as soon as possible. Complaints can be filed with your local police department and with the Washington ACLU.

Of course, seek legal assistance as soon as possible as well. Experienced criminal defense lawyer Steve Karimi is dedicated to protecting your constitutional rights. If you or a loved one is facing charges in the Seattle area contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today!

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.

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If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-621-8777 during regular business hours or 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

Seattle Defense Lawyer

Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.