Assault or Obstruct Police Officer

The Police Powers and Responsibilities Act makes it an offence for a person to assault or obstruct a police officer when that officer is performing his or her official duties. This offence includes assaulting or obstructing a police dog or police horse who is acting under the control of a police officer.

For the purposes of this offence, the word ‘assault’ has the same definition as the definition of assault in the Criminal Code and the word ‘obstruct’ includes to hinder, resist and attempt to resist.

Offences of assaulting a police officer usually involve minor scuffles or contact with a police officer where the officer suffers only minor injuries, if any. If an officer suffers serious injuries, the offender will likely be charged with the offence of Serious Assault of a Police Officer.

An example of when a person might be charged with assaulting a police officer is when a person assaults an officer while trying to resist being handcuffed. The assault does not need to be the result of a direct punch but could come in the form of an elbow to the officer’s ribs while the person is moving their body around.

A person will be charged with obstructing a police officer if they do any act which prevents the officer from doing their official duty. For example, a person can be charged with this offence if they repeatedly interrupt an officer who is trying to question another person. In this example, the officer is being prevented from carrying out their duty which is an offence.

To be found guilty of obstruction, it must be found beyond reasonable doubt that you caused an obstruction either with your body, goods or a vehicle. It must also be found that the obstruction you made was deliberate and occurred in an area of access for the general public such as a road or footpath.

Have you been charged with an offence of assaulting or obstructing a police officer? Both of these charges have serious consequences and you may require expert legal advice to develop an appropriate defence to your case in court.

There are a range of defence options that can be considered for a charge involving the assault or obstruction of a police officer.

Execution of Duty

There may be a dispute about whether the officer was executing his or her duties at the time of the offence. This can include the officer’s actions being illegal or outside of the scope of their usual duties involved in the role. This is a significant defence option because the prosecution needs to prove that the incident occurred as alleged, including that the police officer was acting in the course of their official duties.


If the assault or obstruction occurred against your will or better judgement, the defence of duress may apply. The unlawful coercion could be due to a second party influencing you to perform the offence.


If your conduct of assaulting or obstructing a police officer was unavoidable and was justified due to the offence resulting in the prevention of more serious harm occurring, you may be able to argue that your actions were done out of necessity.

Self Defence

For self-defence to be considered as a defence option, it should be noted that this defence can be quite complicated.

Self-defence is divided between self-defense against an unprovoked assault or against a provoked assault. For this defence option to be viable, the conduct will need to have been deemed necessary to defend yourself and that it was a reasonable response considering the circumstances that were perceived by you.

Identity Dispute

There could also be a defence if you have wrongly been identified as the perpetrator of this offence.

If you’re not sure which defence option is the best fit for your case, speak to one of our criminal lawyers. We will help you to develop the very best defence for your particular case. Our lawyers will do whatever it takes to understand your case thoroughly and present the best defence case to the court, giving you the best chance possible to receive a positive result.

The penalty for assaulting or obstructing a police officer includes maximum fines of up to about $6,000 or 12 months imprisonment. The maximum penalties depend on whether the offence took place in or within the vicinity of licenced premises.

Recent changes to the law have also seen the introduction of an ‘aggravating circumstance’ which states that a person must receive a community service order if the person committed the offence while in a public place and while adversely affected by an intoxicating substance.

When charged with this type of offence, there are a range of circumstances and conditions that need to be met for your case to hold up in court, which is why it is important to seek legal advice before deciding on how you will plead. If you decide to plead guilty, you need a reputable lawyer on your side that the Queensland courts recognise and trust.

Alternatively, deciding to plead not guilty to this charge should not be treated lightly. This is why a solid defence needs to be presented to the court to defend you and your case.

Legal Support

You need to trust someone who knows the law, which is why Harper Finch Lawyers are the perfect choice. Whether you choose to plead guilty or not guilty in your case, you will always be better off receiving professional legal advice from our reliable and trustworthy lawyers. With the range of legal options and resources we have available, you can trust that we will prepare a quality defence to get you the best possible outcome.


If you want to understand your case and the relevant law involved throughout the legal process, trust our criminal lawyers. We know how important it is for you to understand what is happening in your case and we promise to keep you informed.

Credible in Court

Thanks to their extensive experience in Queensland courts, our lawyers are both well-known and persuasive in court. With confident lawyers by your side in the courtroom, you know that you will have the very best chance possible to receive the outcome you desire from your case.

Assault or Obstruct Police Lawyers

For professional and reliable criminal lawyers with experience in defending assault or obstruct police charges, Harper Finch lawyers are here to help you. Our lawyers always strive to achieve the best outcome possible, and you can trust that we will be with you throughout the court process from start to finish.

We know exactly what needs to be done to ensure you get the best outcome possible. Contact us now to discuss your options. Give us a call now on 3112 5232 or send us an email at

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