Recently, many protesters in New York City have been arrested and given Desk Appearance Tickets charging them with a violation of Penal Law 195.05, also called Obstructing Governmental Administration. “Obstructing Governmental Administration,” (colloquially referred to as “O.G.A.”) is a very commonly charged crime in New York. While the penal law title is self-explanatory, the application of the charge might be broader than you think. Essentially, any act of intimidation or a physical or independently unlawful act which is committed with intent to obstruct governmental administration falls within the ambit of the statute, which lies in New York Penal Law § 195.05, and states as follows:
§ 195.05 Obstructing governmental administration in the second degree.
A person is guilty of obstructing governmental administration when he intentionally obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from performing an official function, by means of intimidation, physical force or interference, or by means of any independently unlawful act, or by means of interfering, whether or not physical force is involved, with radio, telephone, television or other telecommunications systems owned or operated by the state, or a county, city, town, village, fire district or emergency medical service or by means of releasing a dangerous animal under circumstances evincing the actor’s intent that the animal obstruct governmental administration.