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How serious is a charge for obstructing governmental administration?

New York, NY |

I was on the beach with friends after hours and received a citation. When collecting identification, the officer called two of us out (including myself) to come to his vehicle. In the middle of talking with him about helping to remedy the situation, he drove his vehicle away while we were still next to it, pulling us with the car. Officers threw my friend down, and arrested him on the spot. It did not appear that he had done anything wrong, and so I (albeit unwisely) voiced my frustration with the officer. I was then arrested and charged for obstructing governmental administration. How serious is this charge and what are usually the consequences? What's my best way to better educate myself before appearing in court? THANK YOU!

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Greetings:

    It sounds like you were probably charged with Obstructing governmental administration in the second degree in violation of Penal Law § 195.05 which states: "A person is guilty of obstructing governmental administration when he intentionally obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from performing an official function, by means of intimidation, physical force or interference, or by means of any independently unlawful act, or by means of interfering, whether or not physical force is involved, with radio, telephone, television or other telecommunications systems owned or operated by the state, or a county, city, town, village, fire district or emergency medical service or by means of releasing a dangerous animal under circumstances evincing the actor's intent that the animal obstruct governmental administration. Obstructing governmental administration is a class A misdemeanor”.

    A misdemeanor is a crime. New York law defines a misdemeanor as an offense, other than a ‘traffic infraction”, for which a sentence in excess of fifteen days may be imposed but which a sentence of imprisonment in excess of one year cannot be imposed. Prosecution of a misdemeanor must be started within two years of the crime.”

    New York law classifies misdemeanors into three categories for purposes of sentencing: class A misdemeanors; class B misdemeanors and unclassified misdemeanors. All misdemeanors carry a definite sentence that is fixed by the court. A sentence of imprisonment for a class A- misdemeanor may not exceed one year. A sentence of imprisonment for a class-B misdemeanor may not exceed three months. A sentence of imprisonment for an unclassified misdemeanor carries a sentence specified by the ordinance or law that defines the crime. A person sentenced to imprisonment for a misdemeanor serves out their sentence of imprisonment in the local county jail. Class A misdemeanor probation is three years. Class B misdemeanor probation is one year.

    A court can impose a fine in most cases of no more than one thousand dollars for a class A misdemeanor. A court can impose a fine of no more than five hundred dollars for a class B misdemeanor. A court can impose a fine specified by the ordinance or law that defines an unclassified misdemeanor. A person convicted of a misdemeanor must pay a mandatory surcharge of one hundred forty dollars and crime victim assistance fee of twenty dollars. Sex offenses carry additional surcharges.

    I recommend that you retain an attorney to represent you. If you can not afford an attorney the court will appoint you an attorney.

    Best regards,

    George P. Conway

    THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation

  2. Its a Class A misdemeanor so its not insignificant but it sounds like a bs charge. I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me.

  3. Obstructing Governmental Administration is a class "A" misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to a year. It's one of those "default" charges that cops charge you with when there's nothing else they can use. Depending on which county the case is pending, an experienced lawyer should be able to get you a lower plea or likely even an "adjournment in contemplation of dismissal" (ACD or ACOD, depending on the county), which means the case would automatically be dismissed after six months.

    Feel free to give me a call and I will help you.

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