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Assault on a Police Officer

Any allegation of assault on a police officer is extremely serious under New York law. In many of these cases, an NYPD officer will trump up assault charge in order to cover up the fact that the officers used excessive force in making an arrest.

If you were charged with the serious criminal offense of assault on a police officer, or aggravated assault on a police officer, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner. With offices conveniently located in Queens, Rochelle Berliner aggressively fights any charges related to resisting arrest or assault on a police officer.

New York Assault on a Police Officer Defense Lawyer

Rochelle Berliner is also experienced in pursuing claims of police misconduct, police brutality or excessive force. Call 718-261-5600 to speak with an experienced attorney today about the facts of your case. Find out what you need to do today to protect yourself from the criminal charges and protect your rights.


New York Assault on a LEO Information Center


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New York's Statute on Assault on a Police Officer

Assault on Police Officer is a Class "C" Felony under New York Penal Code 120.08. The statute became effective on November 1, 1996. It provides enhanced penalties for an assault on a police officer or certain other types of professionals including:

  • a Peace Officer;
  • a Fireman which includes a fireman acting as an emergency medical technician (EMT) or paramedic
    administering first aid in the course of performance of duty as such fireman; or
  • an Emergency Medical Services paramedic; or
  • an Emergency Medical Service technician.

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Elements of the Crime of Assault on a Police Officer

Under New York law, an assault on a police officer can be charged when it is alleged that:

  • the person accused committed an assault;
  • against a police officer or other qualified professional;
  • with the intent to prevent the police officer (or other qualified professional) from performing a lawful duty; and
  • the person accused caused serious physical injury to the police officer or other qualified professional.

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New York Statute on Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer

The charge of aggravated assault on a police officer has an additional element that alleges the person accused caused serious bodily injury by using a deadly weapon (or another type of dangerous instrument). Aggravated assault on a police officer is a Class "B" felony under New York Penal Law 120.11.

The elements of the offense require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • the person accused acted with an intent to cause serious physical injury to a person:
  • that the person accused knows or reasonably should know that the person assaulted is a police officer [or a peace officer] engaged in the course of performing his or her official duties;
  • that the assault occurred while the police officer [or a peace officer] was engage in the course of performing his or her official duties; and
  • that the person accused causes such injury by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.

Under the aggravated assault upon a police officer statute, the term "deadly weapon" is defined to include:

  • a firearm or any other loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious physical injury, may be discharged;
  • a knife including
    • a pilum ballistic knife defined as any knife having a blade which can be projected from the handle by hand pressure applied to a spring, lever, button, or other mechanism in the handle of the knife;
    • a gravity knife defined as any knife having a blade which is released from the sheath or handle by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force which, when released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever or other device;
    • a switchblade knife defined as any knife having a blade which opens automatically by hand pressure applied to a button, spring or other device in the handle of the knife;
    • a metal knuckle knife;
  • a blackjack;
  • a billy;
  • a dagger; or
  • metal knuckles.

New York Penal Law § 265.00 defines the terms “pilum ballistic knife,” "switchblade knife,” or “gravity knife.”


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Definition of Dangerous Instrument in the Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer Charge

Under the aggravated assault upon a police officer statute, the term dangerous instrument is defined to mean any

  • vehicle;
  • instrument;
  • article; or
  • substance which under the circumstances in which it is actually used (or attempted to be used or threatened to be use) is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury.

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Definition of "Police Officer" or "Peace Officer" under New York Law

Although the standard jury instructions to not specifically provide definitions of the terms “police officer” and “peace officer,” the standard jury instructions suggest in a footnote that the court define "police officer" as set forth in CPL § 1.20(34) and “peace officer” as set forth in CPL § 2.10.


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Defenses to the Crime of Assault on a Police Officer

It is a defense to the charge if the police officer or other qualified professional was not performing a lawful duty at the time of the assault. In many of these cases, the person accused will also assert a self-defense claim centered around the fact that the police officer was using excessive force at the time of the alleged assault.


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Definition of the term "Serious Physical Injury" in an Assault on a Police Officer Charge

The term "serious physical injury" is defined to mean impairment of a person's physical condition which creates a substantial risk of death or causes:

  • protracted impairment of health;
  • serious and protracted disfigurement;
  • protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; or
  • death.

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Definition of "Intent" in the Assault on a Police Officer Charge

Intent is defined to mean a "conscious objective or purpose: to prevent a police officer of other qualified professional from performing a lawful duty "when that person's conscious objective or purpose is to prevent such police officer (or other qualified professional) from performing a lawful duty.

Under New York's statute for assault on a police officer, the required intent is an intent to prevent a police officer (or other qualified professional) from performing a lawful duty. The law does not specifically require any intention to cause serious physical injury.

Under the standard jury instructions, the jury is told that if the juror finds that the "defendant had the intent to prevent the [police officer (or the qualified professional)] from performing a lawful duty and that he/she caused him/her serious physical injury, then it does not matter that the serious physical injury was caused unintentionally or accidentally, or that it resulted from the victim's fear or fright.<


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Finding Representation in an Assault on a Police Officer Case in New York City

If you have been arrested for serious assault charges involving a police officer in New York City, you should contact an experienced Queens criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. With offices located in Queens, Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner represents clients charged with assault on a police officer throughout New York City including Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx, or Brooklyn.

Call 718-261-5600 or submit an online form today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Free Consultation

Submit your information using this form to schedule a free consultation with attorney Rochelle Berliner.

Name* Phone* Email* Subject* Message*

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