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18-8-104. Obstructing a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical service provider, rescue specialist, or volunteer.

Statute text

(1) (a) A person commits obstructing a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical service provider, rescue specialist, or volunteer when, by using or threatening to use violence, force, physical interference, or an obstacle, such person knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the enforcement of the penal law or the preservation of the peace by a peace officer, acting under color of his or her official authority; knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the prevention, control, or abatement of fire by a firefighter, acting under color of his or her official authority; knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the administration of medical treatment or emergency assistance by an emergency medical service provider or rescue specialist, acting under color of his or her official authority; or knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders the administration of emergency care or emergency assistance by a volunteer, acting in good faith to render such care or assistance without compensation at the place of an emergency or accident.

(b) To assure that animals used in law enforcement or fire prevention activities are protected from harm, a person commits obstructing a peace officer or firefighter when, by using or threatening to use violence, force, physical interference, or an obstacle, he or she knowingly obstructs, impairs, or hinders any such animal.

(2) It is not a defense to a prosecution under this section that the peace officer was acting in an illegal manner, if he or she was acting under color of his or her official authority. A peace officer acts "under color of his or her official authority" if, in the regular course of assigned duties, he or she makes a judgment in good faith based on surrounding facts and circumstances that he or she must act to enforce the law or preserve the peace.

(2.5) If a person is alleged to have committed the offense described in subsection (1)(a) or (1)(b) of this section by using or threatening to use an unmanned aircraft system as an obstacle, the offense does not apply if the person who operates the unmanned aircraft system:

(a) Obtains permission to operate the unmanned aircraft system from a law enforcement agency or other entity that is coordinating the response of peace officers, firefighters, emergency medical service providers, rescue specialists, or volunteers to an emergency or accident;

(b) Continues to communicate with such entity during the operation of the unmanned aircraft system; and

(c) Complies immediately with any instructions from the entity concerning the operation of the unmanned aircraft system.

(3) Repealed.

(4) Obstructing a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical service provider, rescue specialist, or volunteer is a class 2 misdemeanor.

(5) For purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) "Emergency medical service provider" means a member of a public or private emergency medical service agency, whether that person is a volunteer or receives compensation for services rendered as such emergency medical service provider.

(b) "Obstacle" includes an unmanned aircraft system.

(c) "Rescue specialist" means a member of a public or private rescue agency, whether that person is a volunteer or receives compensation for services rendered as such rescue specialist.

History

Source: L. 71: R&RE, p. 454, 1. C.R.S. 1963: 40-8-104. L. 77: (1) amended, p. 965, 38, effective July 1. L. 83: (3) repealed, p. 671, 23, effective July 1. L. 90: (1) amended, p. 1611, 2, effective July 1. L. 96: (1) and (4) amended, p. 1477, 41, effective June 1; (1)(a) and (4) amended and (5) added, p. 956, 1, effective July 1. L. 2012: (2) amended, (HB 12-1310), ch. 268, p. 1398, 15, effective June 7. L. 2018: (2.5) and (5)(c) added and (5)(b) amended, (HB 18-1314), ch. 385, p. 2309, 2, effective August 8.

Annotations

Editor's note: (1) Amendments to subsections (1) and (4) in House Bill 96-208 and Senate Bill 96-68 were harmonized.

(2) Section 3 of chapter 385 (HB 18-1314), Session Laws of Colorado 2018, provides that the act changing this section applies to offenses committed on or after August 8, 2018.

Annotations

Cross references: For the legislative declaration in HB 18-1314, see section 1 of chapter 385, Session Laws of Colorado 2018.

Annotations

 

ANNOTATION

Annotations

Interference with peace officer is a matter of both local and statewide concern. City & County of Denver v. Howard, 622 P.2d 568 (Colo. 1981).

And Denver ordinance does not conflict with section. Denver revised municipal code 846.1-2 (interfering with a police officer) does not conflict with this section. City & County of Denver v. Howard, 622 P.2d 568 (Colo. 1981).

If violation of municipal ordinance may result in fine or imprisonment, then the ordinance is penal in nature within the meaning of this section. People v. Shockley, 41 Colo. App. 515, 591 P.2d 589 (1978).

Term "enforcement" as used in subsection (1) encompasses those activities which a peace officer is under a duty to perform in order to give effect to a penal law. People v. Shockley, 41 Colo. App. 515, 591 P.2d 589 (1978).

Obstruction of booking process is violation of this section. People v. Shockley, 41 Colo. App. 515, 591 P.2d 589 (1978).

While mere verbal opposition alone may not suffice to merit a conclusion of interference or obstruction, a combination of statements and acts, viewed in the totality of the circumstances, can form the crime of obstruction. Dempsey v. People, 117 P.3d 800 (Colo. 2005).

Obstruction of a peace officer under this section is a lesser included offense of second degree assault under 18-3-203 (1)(c) and (1)(f) since all of the elements contained in the definition of obstruction of a peace officer would be necessarily established by the proof of the elements of second degree assault under 18-3-203 (1)(c). People v. Stafford, 890 P.2d 244 (Colo. App. 1994).

Trial court's failure to instruct the jury that obstruction of a peace officer under this section was a lesser included offense of second degree assault under 18-3-203 (1)(c) was error requiring a new trial where defendant acknowledged the officers sustained bodily injury but there was no admission that he intended to act in a manner that would cause the injury. People v. Stafford, 890 P.2d 244 (Colo. App. 1994).

Trial court's failure to instruct the jury that obstruction of a peace officer under this section was a lesser included offense of second degree assault under 18-3-203 (1)(f) was error requiring a new trial where defendant testified that the only action he volitionally took after the first officer entered the cell was to raise his arms. People v. Stafford, 890 P.2d 244 (Colo. App. 1994).

Self-defense is an available defense against a charge under this section when a defendant reasonably believes that unreasonable or excessive force is being used by a peace officer. People v. Barrus, 232 P.3d 264 (Colo. App. 2009).

Defendant may not respond to an unreasonable search or seizure by a threat of violence against the officer and then rely on the exclusionary rule to suppress evidence pertaining to the criminal act of obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest. People v. Brown, 217 P.3d 1252 (Colo. 2009).

Applied in United States v. Baldwin, 745 F.3d 1027 (10th Cir. 2014); Holdridge v. Blank, 255 F. Supp. 3d 1088 (D. Colo. 2017).