Assaulting a Peace Officer, Police Officer, Emergency Medical Services Professional, or Fireman: New York Penal Code § 120.08

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Assaulting a police officer is viewed as an egregious offense in the State of New York and is addressed in New York Penal Code 120.08; it is a Class C felony. In addition to assaults on police officers, this § of the code is intended to protect peace officers, emergency medical services professionals, and firemen in the performance of their lawful duties. A person who intends to prevent these individuals from performing their assigned responsibilities by intending to cause serious physical injury and acting to cause serious physical injury is in violation of this law. A serious physical injury is defined as one that might cause death, a substantial risk of death, protracted impairment of health or disfigurement, or loss of a body organ.

Hypothetical Case

Suppose a man was sitting in his SUV that was parked legally on the side of the road. A police officer pulled up behind the SUV in an unmarked vehicle and stopped. The officer got out and walked up to the driver’s side of the SUV and asked the man what he was doing. The man became anxious and quickly started the SUV, pushed the accelerator pedal to the floor and immediately sped away. The police officer was struck by the SUV and suffered injuries. Even though the police officer was hurt, he did not have probable cause to question the man as he was not breaking any laws.

Possible Defenses

Not in lawful performance of duty. If it can be shown that the officer was not carrying out his duty lawfully at the time of the incident, then there may be reason to dispute the charge of assault on a police officer and violating code § 120.08.

Seriousness of injury in question. If the injury does not meet the criteria for a “serious physical injury,” then the charge of assaulting a peace officer, police officer, emergency medical services professional, or fireman will not stand. These are some of the factors that may be considered: (a) loss of consciousness, (b) presence of a permanent scar, (c) presence of a great deal of pain, (d) damage to vital organs, and (e) need for surgery. Further, the court considers an injury “serious” if it is permanently disfiguring or life-threatening.

Other lines of defense. Defense attorneys who are experienced in many types of assault cases are more likely to have, from their case history, proven techniques and strategies upon which to develop a convincing case in defense of their clients.

Possible Sentence

Imprisonment. Conviction of the crime of assaulting a peace officer, police officer, emergency medical services professional, or fireman as a Class C felony carries a sentence of up to fifteen years in jail. However, as a violent felony, the prison sentence must be at least three and a half years in duration if the convicted has no prior felony conviction; if the convicted has one or more prior felony convictions, then the minimum sentence will be greater. The presiding judge will assess the convicted person’s character and prior criminal record when imposing the sentence.

Monetary fine. The presiding judge may also levy a fine up to $5000.

NY Penal Code § 120.08: Assaulting a Peace Officer, Police Officer, Emergency Medical Services Professional, or Fireman

To summarize, a person is guilty of committing a Class C felony, assaulting a peace officer, police officer, emergency medical services professional, or fireman, if they cause serious physical injury to such person with the intent of preventing such person from carrying out their assigned responsibilities.

Attorney to Defend Against the Charge of Assaulting a Peace Officer, Police Officer, Emergency Medical Services Professional, or Fireman

To successfully defend against a charge of assaulting a peace officer, police officer, emergency medical services professional, or fireman, it is imperative to seek legal counsel from an experienced and reputable defense attorney firm with highly qualified staff to effectively protect your legal rights and interests.

The Elliott Adler PC attorney firm has successfully defended people charged with assaulting a peace officer, police officer, emergency medical services professional, or fireman in the courts of New York. The Elliot Adler PC attorney firm also has expertise in cases involving other felonies and misdemeanors, including any involving charges of assault, second degree vehicular assault, or aggravated vehicular assault. The Elliot Adler PC law firm is committed to developing effective defense cases and helping their clients avoid conviction.

We can be reached at (212) 785-1300 or http://www.newyorkcriminallawyer24-7.com to schedule a no-obligation, free legal consultative meeting to evaluate your case.

Related Offenses

For additional information, refer to the following §s of the New York Penal Code:

  1. Second degree assault: § 120.05
  2. Aggravated assault of a peace officer or police officer: § 120.11