Assault on a police officer in New York

Assault on a police officer in New York

Assaulting a police officer is one of the more serious assault charges under New York State law. This particular crime arouses both public anger and high volumes of press coverage because the police are sworn to protect New York’s citizenry and violence against them is seen as a threat to public safety. If you are even suspected of assaulting a New York police officer, then you may be treated as guilty in many people’s eyes until a judge or jury finds you innocent.

Assault in the Second Degree

If you commit Assault in the Third Degree on a police officer, and you did so with the intent to prevent the officer from carrying out his lawful duty,  then the charge is automatically bumped up to Assault in the Second Degree. One example might be pushing a policeman away from a friend who is being arrested and causing physical injury to the officer. Such an act is a Class D felony that can result in a prison sentence of two to seven years.

Assault on a Police Officer

You can be found guilty of violating NY Penal Law 120.08 if:

  • You physically attack a police officer with the intention of preventing him or her from performing a lawful duty
  • The attack results in serious physical injury to the officer

In this instance, “serious physical injury” is an injury that results in loss of a bodily organ, disfigurement, disability, risk of death, or death. If found guilty of this Class C felony, then you can be sent to prison for up to 15 years.

Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer

If you used or are accused of using a dangerous weapon during an attack on a police officer, then the charge becomes aggravated assault, a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. The statute defines a deadly weapon as:

  • A firearm or any other loaded weapon capable of causing death or serious physical injury
  • A knife such as a switchblade, pilum plastic knife, gravity knife or metal knuckle knife
  • A blackjack or billy club
  • A dagger
  • Metal knuckles

If you are accused of assaulting a New York police officer, then contact an experienced New York criminal defense attorney immediately. Your attorney will review the circumstances of your case and advise you on the best way to mount a defense, all the while protecting your rights.

It is a valid defense if the police officer was not performing a legally sanctioned duty at the time of the alleged attack, of if you had no idea the person was a member of law enforcement. You can also assert self-defense if the police officer was using excessive force at the time you allegedly assaulted him or her. Some police officers, unfortunately, have to been known to falsely claim assault when a person in their custody attempted to defend themselves from the application of excessive force.

With so much at stake, quality legal representation and advice is your best shot at a favorable resolution of your case. Julie Rendelman is a New York City criminal defense attorney and former Kings County prosecutor with more than 20 years of legal experience. She offers free consultations and can be reached at 212-951-1232.