If you are arrested by a police officer, it is a crime to try and break loose, run away, or otherwise resist. Resisting arrest in New Jersey is much more serious than you might think. Not only can a conviction ruin your chances of getting a job, but you can also face serious prison time and will have a criminal record.
What are the Penalties for Resisting Arrest?
Resisting arrest (also called “eluding”) is defined as purposefully evading, attempting to prevent, or successfully preventing a law enforcement officer from making an arrest. According to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2, doing this is considered a disorderly persons offense, which means you can face 6 months in jail if you are found guilty. However, the severity of the offense will increase to a fourth degree crime if you resist arrest by running away from law enforcement officials (i.e. “flight” or “fleeing”). If you flee, you can end up in prison for up to 18 months [N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a)(2)].
The crime will become even more serious if you threaten to use force or violence against a police officer or create a substantial risk of physical injury to any person while trying to evade the arrest. Doing this is a third degree crime and could mean spending up to 5 years in jail [N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a)(3)].
Similarly, it is also a third degree crime to use a motor vehicle in order to resist an arrest. If you knowingly flee in a motor vehicle after being ordered to come to a complete stop, you will be guilty of a third degree crime and serve up to 5 years in prison. Most importantly, if you create a risk of injury to the police officer or others around you while fleeing in a vehicle, then you will be guilty of a second degree crime. Doing this could land you behind bars for up to 10 years.
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Defenses to Raise For Resisting Arrest in New Jersey
Since the prosecutor bears the burden of proving his case beyond a reasonable doubt, a typical defense strategy involves arguing that he did not meet this burden.
For example, the prosecutor needs to show that it was your conscious aim or objective to prevent your arrest from happening. However, if you writhed or wiggled around because you were scared or in pain as a result of the officer’s actions, you have a strong argument that it was not truly your conscious aim or objective to resist.
Additionally, the prosecutor needs to show that you knew you were under arrest or that the officer was acting under the color of the law when he arrested you if you did not know.
Again, if you can show that the officer was not acting appropriately or in the scope of his duties, then you will have a valid defense to the crime. Do not try to handle this on your own. If you do, you are gambling with your freedom and future. Only a well-trained criminal defense attorney knows what to say to poke genuine holes in a prosecutor’s case.
Who Should You Contact?
If you or a loved one was charged with resisting arrest or eluding in New Jersey, contact Adam H. Rosenblum of Rosenblum Law today. Mr. Rosenblum is a skilled criminal defense attorney who has helped people in similar situations. He will defend your constitutional rights, fight to keep you out of jail, and do what he can to have your resisting arrest or eluding charges dismissed. E-mail or call him today at 888-815-3649.