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Obstructing Governmental Administration

Often charged along with or in lieu of Resisting Arrest, New York Penal Law 205.30, Obstruction of Governmental Administration in the Second Degree, New York Penal Law 195.05, is a distinct crime with its own elements. In fact, due to confusion by both NYPD police officers and even prosecutors from the Manhattan and Brooklyn District Attorney’s Offices to their counterparts in Queens and the Bronx, sometimes there is a simple misunderstanding of the law and the improper charging of Second Degree Obstruction of Governmental Administration, aka, “OGA.” Whether the charging of an inapplicable crime is an issue in your arrest or there is some other legal or substantive issue, it is incumbent upon you and your criminal lawyer to examine the allegations to best confront OGA charges whatever defense you ultimately pursue.

Second Degree OGA: The Elements of NY Penal Law 195.05

Generally, if you impair or hinder the administration of law or prevent a public servant, often, but not necessarily, a police officer, from performing his or her official duty and job, then you are close to having violated NY Penal Law 195.05. Because obstruction can be accidental or even intentional without being nefarious, the other crucial element that is required by law is that your intentional obstruction be pursued and done through some manner of intimidation, interference, physical force or an independently unlawful act.

If convicted of Second Degree Obstruction of Governmental Administration, authorized sentences include up to one year in jail, three years probation, community service and other conditions a judge or prosecutor deem appropriate.

NY Penal Law 195.05: A Hypothetical

An easy way to visualize a violation of Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree, while also contrasting it with Resisting Arrest, is as follows:

The police are attempting to arrest your friend, acquaintance or even a stranger in the street. You intentionally stand in front of the police officers or detectives with the objective of getting in their way, slowing the police down or allowing the target of their arrest to get away. The police advise you to move and maybe even tell you that you are delaying or preventing them from making an inquiry, investigating a potential crime or effectuating an arrest. Regardless, you are advised to move, but you block the police from arresting your friend each time they try to do so and go as far as “bumping chests” and slapping away handcuffs without causing any injury to the arresting officer. This conduct would, on its face, be a violation of NY PL 195.05.

In a different scenario, the police, whether they are from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office or the Port Authority Police Department, are attempting to arrest you for alleged criminal conduct. You refuse to put your hands behind your back to be handcuffed. You swing your arms and hold them tight against your body. Maybe you even jump around and try to run a bit. Ultimately, the police force you down and formally arrest you for your initial alleged wrongdoing. Here, you may have obstructed law enforcement, but the police should charge you with Resisting Arrest and the District Attorney should draft a criminal complaint reflecting the same.

The above hypotheticals are very vague and there are other factors your criminal defense attorney will examine when ascertaining the legality of your arrest and sufficiency of the charge you face in a criminal court. Because so much is on the line in terms of your future, reputation and the possibility of an indelible “stain” of a criminal record, when there is no substitute for experience, advocacy and knowledge, know you can count on the New York criminal lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Saland Law.

Call the New York criminal defense attorneys and former Manhattan prosecutors at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today

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