Resisting or Obstructing Officers
What is prohibited by the law?
Every person who willfully resists, delays or obstructs any public officer, in the discharge, or attempt to discharge, of any duty of his office or who knowingly gives a false report to any peace officer, when no other punishment is prescribed, is punishable by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), and imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one (1) year.
How is “willfully” defined?
Willfully implies simply a purpose or willingness to commit the act or make the omission referred to. It does not require any intent to violate the law, or to injure another, or to acquire any advantage. It is defined in under Idaho Code § 18-101.
What is the most common defense to this charge?
An officer is not permitted to use unreasonable or excessive force in making or attempting to make an arrest or in detaining or attempting to detain a person for questioning. If an officer does use unreasonable or excessive force, the person being arrested or detained may lawfully use reasonable force to protect himself.
To overcome this defense, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
(1) that the officer did not use unreasonable force,
(2) if the officer used unreasonable force, that the defendant used unreasonable force in response.
If the state fails to do so, the jury will be instructed to find you not guilty.
Additionally, the person must know that it is an officer they are resisting. If the person resists an officer, but did not have knowledge that it was an officer at the time, there is a defense to this charge. We encounter this defense when an officer is acting undercover and does not properly identify himself or herself to the person being arrested or detained.