Skip to main content
This section is included in your selections.

A. A person is guilty of obstructing a public officer if, with knowledge that the person obstructed is a public officer, he or she:

1. Intentionally and physically interferes with a public officer; or

2. Intentionally hinders or delays a public officer by disobeying an order to stop given by such officer; or

3. Intentionally refuses to cease an activity or behavior when ordered to do so by a public officer and when continuing to engage in such an activity or behavior would otherwise constitute a civil infraction or crime; or

4. Intentionally destroys, conceals or alters or attempts to destroy, conceal or alter any material which he or she knows the public officer is attempting to obtain, secure or preserve during an investigation, search or arrest; or

5. Intentionally refuses to leave the scene of an investigation of a crime while an investigation is in progress after being requested to leave by a public officer.

B. A person is guilty of unlawfully 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 duties.

C. No person shall be convicted of violating this section if the judge determines, with respect to the person charged with violating this section, that the public officer was not acting lawfully in a government function.

D. For purposes of this section, a “public officer” means those individuals responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of the Bellingham Municipal Code, including, but not limited to, provisions related to fire, building, zoning, and life and safety codes; those individuals empowered to make arrests for offenses under the Bellingham Municipal Code; or those individuals responsible for enforcement of the federal or state criminal laws. A “public officer” includes, but is not limited to, a “law enforcement officer.”

E. “Law enforcement officer” means any general authority, limited authority, or specially commissioned Washington peace officer or federal peace officer as those terms are defined in RCW 10.93.020.

F. Obstructing a public officer is a gross misdemeanor. [Ord. 10912 § 12, 1997].