Assault on a police officer

Assault on a police officer

Early on the morning of July 20, 2014, two NYPD officers approached a man in the lobby of a New York City Housing Authority building on Park Avenue, near 105th Street in East Harlem. The man, 26-year-old Joseph Pica, attempted to run for the lobby exit, but a female officer grabbed his sweatshirt when he pushed past her. He broke free during the ensuing struggle and ran down a flight of steps. In the process, the officer fell face-first onto the steps and suffered both facial injuries and broken teeth.

Pica later pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to Assault on a Police Officer and was sentenced to five years in prison.

A person can be charged with assault on a police officer in New York State, under NY Penal Law 120.08,  if he or she attacks someone that they knew or should have known to be a police officer, with the intent of preventing the officer from doing his or her lawful duty, and the assault resulted in serious physical injury. It is a class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If a dangerous weapon was involved in the attack, then the charge is escalated to aggravated assault, a class B felony, and can result in imprisonment for up to 25 years.

This particular crime raises public ire because the police are tasked with protecting the people of New York, and acts of violence against them are justifiably regarded as extremely serious. If you are even suspected of assaulting a police officer,  you can be regarded as guilty until proven innocent. The criminal law allows everyone the presumption of innocence unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Do not hesitate to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you protect your rights and put forth a strong defense.

For example, If you did, in fact, have a physical confrontation with  a police officer, were they actually performing a lawful duty at the time the confrontation took place? If they were, was excessive force involved that required you to defend yourself? These are only some of the potential defenses that may or may not apply to your circumstances. Your attorney will review the facts of your case and advise you on the best way to proceed given the facts of your case..

Any individual convicted for an assault on a police officer faces the potential of years of prison time under New York State law. The moment that you are either arrested or led to believe that you are a suspect, the first thing you need to do is hire an attorney with experience in defending felony assault cases. He or she will work with your best interests in mind at all times, and follow a course of action to create the best possible outcome for your case. Too many important things (primarily, your future) are in the balance, so do not risk going it alone. Julie Rendelman has over 20 years of experience as an attorney. She has worked both as a prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer, fighting for the rights of the accused. If you are concerned, that you may be charged with a crime, or have been already charged, then call 212-951-1232 for a free consultation. Visit to learn more about Ms. Rendelman’s experience and the types of cases she handles.