Legal Question in Criminal Law in New York

Interfering with a government official and being of age to know

My 16 year old son was arrested this evening in New york under code 195.05. His friends and him were celebrating his leaving NY for CA in a bar/restaurant setting -so he was allowed out to 1:30am. As they were leaving a plain clothes officer displayed a gun and a badge, had them shut off the car, and then dragged his african american friend to the ground and cuffed him.The police officer stated that he witnessed the boy breaking mirrors off another vehicle. My son, in disbelieve for the way his friend was thrown to the ground and cuffed, asked why they were doing that to him,He then told his friend not to say anything until he had help. The police then asked ny son if he was his attorney, he advised he takes the fifth amendment. He was arrested for interfering with a govenmental process? code 195.05.Does his verbiage, without physical action--advising his friend constitute the breaking of this law, and if it does is he of an age where he should have known legally? Also, I have all plans set for California, and this move--what recourse do I have--can I not show up--or ask for a postponement until next July-after school ends in California?

Asked on 10/30/05, 6:04 am

5 Answers from Attorneys

Andrew Nitzberg Andrew Nitzberg & Associates

Re: Interfering with a government official and being of age to know

This is pretty notmal for police behavior. Possibly the best action for your son is to get a plea of a 'violation'. The problem is that the only witness is the friend who, the police allege, was engaged in criminal activity at the time.

A violation is not a crime and carries no criminal record or stigma.

It is also possible to get a dismissal with these facts. If the friend is not found guilty of his crime his testimony could be credible and, therefore, helpful.

If you, as the father, make an appointment with the prosecutor and get a promise of a plea of a 'violation' you can avoid the cost of a lawyer. Otherwise, make sure you have a lawyer for your son.

You are welcome to a consultation for no fee.

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Answered on 10/30/05, 7:15 pm
Andrew Multer Bahn, Herzfeld & Multer, LLP

Re: Interfering with a government official and being of age to know

Your son must show up for his court appearance -- I assume that he was given a Desk Appearance Ticket. If he does not do so a warrant will be issued for his arrest, and it will complicate any favorable resolution of the case. Unfortunately, this kind of police conduct is routine, particularly where people of color are involved. I see from your ZIP code that you live in or around Scarsdale (where I grew up), so this kind of interaction with the cops would be very unusual for your son and his friends. There is no Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer a police officer's reasonable request for information; that applies only to a refusal to provide incriminating information in the context of a criminal investigation or prosecution.

In any case, you should hire a lawyer to represent your son at the arraignment on the charge and for any further appearances. Given his age and his presumed lack of prior record, the chances of obtaining an outcome that will not leave him with a criminal record are very good, but it still must be handled correctly. I am an experienced criminal defense attorney and am happy to speak with you without a consultation fee. Feel free to contact me at the e-mail address you see below. / Andrew Multer

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Answered on 10/31/05, 9:11 am
Roland Acevedo Seiff Kretz & Abercrombie

Re: Interfering with a government official and being of age to know

Your son has to show up or a warrant will be issued for his arrest. If he is stopped somewhere and the police run a check, the warrant could show up and he could be held in custody. The court will almost certainly not put off the case until July. The best thing to do is have an attorney try and resolve the case during the first or second court appearance so that your son does not have a record and will not have to keep coming back to court every 2-3 weeks. Since your son does not have a record and is only 16 years old, it should not be difficult to get a favorable resolution for him. There are, however, no guarantees when dealing wth the criminal justice system. If you have additional questions, feel free to call me directly.

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Answered on 10/30/05, 12:11 pm
Valerie Masters Valerie Masters, P.A.

Re: Interfering with a government official and being of age to know

You do not have a 5 amendment right as to your identity. So if the police asked him who he was, he had to answer. You also don't have a fifth amendment right unless you are being asked a potentially incriminating answer. I would guess they are claiming he was not interfering with the arr4est of the friend, but for refusing to answer who he was. Age is not relevant. You can't be out with friends till 1:30 but in the next breath be too young to know the consequences of your actions legally speaking. I would hire a lawyer.

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Answered on 10/30/05, 12:12 pm
Robert Evans Robert S. Evans esq.

Re: Interfering with a government official and being of age to know

The answer is your son or you should hire an attorney. This arrest was proper, but if your son has a clean record there should be good plea bargaining possibilities whereby your son would not have a criminal record. This may involve a plea to a violation, not a crime or an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal. Contact my office via e-mail @ [email protected] and leave your phone # ,I will discuss this with you free of charge.

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Answered on 10/30/05, 12:56 pm

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