New York Penal Law § 195.05 - Obstruction of Government Administration
Obstruction of Government Administration is a criminal offense that prosecutors bring when they believe that someone prevented or attempted to prevent a public servant, including a police officer, from performing an official government function.The Elements of Obstruction of Government Administration
In any case, the prosecution must prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of New York Penal Law § 195.05 - Obstruction of Government Administration are:
- A person obstructed or impaired a law enforcement officer or other public servant from performing an official function;
- The law enforcement officer or public servant was authorized to perform the function; and
- The person did so intentionally.
Section 195.05 provides four ways in which someone can obstruct or impair a government function:
- Using physical force or intimidation;
- Committing another unlawful act;
- Interfering with government-operated radio, telephone, television or other telecommunications systems; or
- Releasing a dangerous animal.
In this context, a public servant is defined as any public officer or employee of the state, city or of any other political subdivision. The term also includes any person carrying out an official duty on behalf of a public officer or employee.Examples of Obstruction of Government Administration
While there are many examples of Obstruction of Government Administration, some of the most common situations in which these charges arise involve interference with a police officer’s duties. For example, helping a suspect avoid a lawful arrest by tackling a police officer as they are chasing the suspect could amount to Obstruction of Government Administration.Related Offenses
Often, prosecutors bring Obstruction of Government Administration charges along with one or more of the following:
- Resisting Arrest NY Penal Law § 205.30
- Refusing to Aid a Peace or Police Officer NY Penal Law § 195.10
- Intimidation of a Witness NY Penal Law § 215.15
- Making an Apparently Sworn False Statement NY Penal Law § 210.40
- Perjury NY Penal Law § 210.15
The defenses that are available to obstruction charges vary, depending on the circumstances. However, as a general rule, each of the following can be a defense:
- The conduct did not rise to the level of interference or obstruction;
- The conduct was unintentional;
- The conduct was protected speech under the First Amendment; and
- The act being performed was not authorized.
For example, it could be a successful defense if you acted to prevent an arrest of a suspect if the arresting officer lacked probable cause to effectuate the arrest.What Are the Penalties for Obstruction of Government Administration?
Obstruction of Government Administration under NY Penal Law § 195.05 is a class A misdemeanor. A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail or up to three years of probation. Additionally, the court may impose a fine of up to $1,000.
Note that if the offense involved interfering with a telecommunications system and someone suffered serious physical injury, the crime becomes a class E felony. Similarly, obstruction charges may be graded as a class D felony if the offense involved using self-defense spray against a police officer or peace officer, resulting in temporary physical impairment.Speak with an Experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Obstruction Charges Today
If you’re facing charges under New York Penal Law § 195.05 - Obstruction of Government Administration, it is imperative that you select a criminal defense law firm that has specific experience handling these cases. At Tilem & Associates, P.C., our dedicated New York criminal defense lawyers have been aggressively defending clients charged with obstruction and other similar charges, such as resisting arrest, intimidation of a witness and making an apparently sworn false statement. We are immediately available to meet with you to get started working on a compelling defense to the charges you face. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-377-8666. You can also reach us through our online contact form.