NY Obstructing Governmental Administration Charges (commonly abbreviated as “OGA) involve situations where an individual intentionally obstructs, or impairs the administration of law or other governmental function or attempts to prevent a government servant from performing a governmental function.

When is OGA typically charged?

This charge is typically charged in situations where an individual:

  • Destroys evidence such as throwing away a marihuana joint or swallowing drugs when stopped by the police;
  • Pulls an emergency brake on the subway;
  • Prevents or attempts to prevent the police from arresting another individual by physical force;
  • Blocks the metal detector inside a courthouse;
  • Interrupts an undercover narcotics buy operation by shouting that the police were present.

Refusing to cooperate with a police investigation such as refusing to provide a witness statement or a drivers license to a police officer has been held not to be Obstructing Governmental Administration by the New York Courts.

Under New York Law, there are three different charges of Obstruction of Governmental Administration. Specifically, they are:

The difference in these charges is explained in detail below.

NY Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree

New York Obstruction of Governmental Administration in the Second Degree charge is codified in Penal Law Section 195.05. Under New York Penal Law Section 195.05, a person is guilty of Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree when:

  1. S/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,
  2. By means of intimidation, physical force or interference, OR
  3. By means of any independently unlawful act, OR
  4. 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
  5. By means of releasing a dangerous animal under circumstances evincing the actor`s intent that the animal obstruct governmental administration.

Simply put, NY Obstructing Governmental Administration Charges involve intentionally preventing the administration of a governmental function or preventing a public official from doing their job by physical interference, force, independently unlawful act, or release of a dangerous animal.

Penalties and Sentencing for NY Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree

New York Obstructing Governmental Administration is a Class “A” misdemeanor. As such, this charge is punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in jail;
  • Probation;
  • Conditional Discharge (with conditions imposed by the sentencing court – such as restitution or community service);
  • Unconditional Discharge (no conditions imposed by the sentencing court);
  • Time Served (even if just a few hours).

NY Obstructing Governmental Administration in the First Degree

New York Obstruction of Governmental Administration in the First Degree charge is codified in Penal Law Section 195.07. Under New York Penal Law Section 195.05, a person is guilty of Obstructing Governmental Administration in the First Degree when:

  1. S/he commits the crime of New York Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree,
  2. By means of interfering with a telecommunications system,
  3. Thereby causing serious physical injury to another person.

Penalties and Sentencing for NY Obstructing Governmental Administration in the First Degree

New York Obstructing Governmental Administration in the First Degree is a Class “E” Non-violent Felony. As such, this charge is punishable by:

  • Indeterminate sentence up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in jail;
  • Determinate sentence of 1 year or less;
  • Split Sentence (up to 6 months jail, rest of time on probation);
  • Probation;
  • Conditional Discharge (with conditions set by the sentencing Court, such as restitution, or community service);
  • Unconditional Discharge (no conditions imposed by the sentencing court).

NY Obstructing Governmental Administration By Means of a Self-Defense Spray Device

The charge of Obstructing Governmental Administration by Means of a Self-Defense Spry Device is codified in New York Penal Law Section 195.08. Under Penal Law Section 195.08, a person is guilty of New York Obstructing Governmental Administration By Means of a Self-Defense Spray Device when:

  1. With the intent to prevent a police officer or peace officer from performing a lawful duty,
  2. He causes temporary physical impairment to a police officer or peace officer by intentionally discharging a self-defense spray device,
  3. Thereby causing such temporary physical impairment.

What is a Self-Defense Spray Device?

The definition of a “Self-Defense Spray Device” comes from New York Penal Law Section 265.20(14)(a). Under this section, a “self-defense spray device” means:

  • A pocket sized spray device which contains and releases a chemical or organic substance, which is intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or disability through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air, OR
  • Any like device containing tear gas, pepper or similar disabling agent.

Penalties and Sentencing for OGA By Means of a Self-Defense Spray Device

New York Obstructing Governmental Administration by Means of a Self-Defense Spray Device is a Class “D” Non-violent Felony. As such, this charge is punishable by:

  • A maximum indeterminate of up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison;
  • A determinate sentence of 1 year or less;
  • Probation, if there are mitigating circumstances present;
  • A split sentence (up to 6 months jail, rest of the time on probation).

Potential Defenses to NY Obstructing Governmental Administration Charges

The main defense to New York Obstructing Governmental Administration Charges is that the law enforcement officer was not engaging in a lawful duty. In order to prosecute someone for New York OGA, the Prosecutor is required to prove that the police were engaged in a lawful duty. Thus, if it can be proven that the police were not performing a lawful duty, then the individual cannot be prosecuted for and convicted of New York OGA charge.

Police or law enforcement are not performing an official function when they:

  • Arrest someone without probable cause;
  • Search a location without probable cause or a valid search warrant;
  • Detain someone without reasonable suspicion;
  • Use excessive force during an apprehension or an arrest.

Other Defenses to Obstructing Governmental Administration Charges

Additional defenses may include insufficiency of evidence and mistaken identity. In criminal cases, the prosecutor bears the burden of proof of all elements of the criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt. When the prosecutor cannot meet that burden on all elements of the criminal statute, the evidence in the case is insufficient and the individual cannot be convicted by a jury of that charge.

The mistaken identity defense is exactly what it sounds like. That is, the individual who was charged with the crime is not the individual who committed the offense. Unfortunately, the police sometimes make mistakes and arrest the wrong individual If the defense attorney is able to convince the prosecutor or the jury that their client was not the individual who committed the offense, the case will be dismissed and sealed. This can be accomplished with promptly requesting a preservation order for video surveillance and interviewing witnesses who were on scene.

Contact NY Obstructing Governmental Administration Defense Attorneys Today

If you or your loved one have been arrested or charged with Obstruction of Governmental Administration Charge, you need experienced criminal defense counsel. We will develop a defense strategy and leave no stone unturned in investigating your case. Frequently, we work with private investigators to conduct our own investigation of the matter. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and start developing your defense today.