Resisting Arrest Charges in NJ
If you fail to go quietly along with police officers when they are trying to arrest you, it is considered ‘resisting arrest.’ These charges often come about through a misunderstanding, but the penalties for this charge in New Jersey can be quite severe. If you are convicted of this charge, you could face up to five years in prison, along with other penalties.
If you are facing a charge of resisting arrest, or someone you know is facing this serious charge, contact a criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and future. You want an attorney with experience in the New Jersey court systems that will fight these charges to either reduce your penalty or dismiss the charges entirely.
What is Considered Resisting Arrest in New Jersey
It is a criminal offense to resist arrest when a police officer is attempting to arrest you. This offense is covered under NJSA 2C:29-2 and states you cannot prevent a law enforcement official from making an arrest. Even should you believe the police officers are wrong to arrest you, and that you have done nothing to warrant an arrest, you cannot resist at the time. You are the one who may face jail time, even if you feel the officer is out of line at the time.
Under New Jersey laws, resisting arrest is considered a disorderly persons offense, which can carry up to six months in the county jail, along with a fine up to $1,000. The charge can be elevated to a fourth-degree crime if you attempt to flee the scene or create any form of injury to the officer arresting you. Should either of these events occur, you could face up to eighteen months in prison with a possible fine of up to $10,000.
Resisting arrest is a serious offense. It can easily be considered a third-degree charge if you threaten the officer or use any form of force against them. If either of these events occurs during your arrest, you could face up to five years in prison along with a fine of up to $15,000.
You do not want to face a charge of resisting arrest without proper legal representation. Howard Lesnik, a Certified Criminal Trial Attorney by the New Jersey Supreme Court, is ready to help you fight these charges and defend your future. He has the experience and success record for helping those who have been targeted by the government. Resisting arrest is a charge a police officer can easily and improperly charge you with during an arrest. We are ready to defend your rights with unyielding determination.
Consequences of Resisting Arrest Conviction in New Jersey
If you are charged and then convicted of resisting arrest in the State of New Jersey, your future could be jeopardized. This conviction will appear on your criminal record, which can be obtained as a reference for job applications, purchase agreements, and school applications. It could also cause you to forfeit your employment for a government agency, or any job that requires a State license, such as a teacher or nurse. This conviction can forever tarnish your future opportunities with its heavy stigma on your reputation.
If you have no prior convictions on your criminal record, resisting arrest may not include jail time, but this depends on the degree of the charge and any aggravating circumstances. If you have no criminal record and are charged with a third or fourth-degree resisting arrest, it may be considered a PNI (presumption of non-incarceration.)
The presumption of non-incarceration means that you enjoy the presumption that you will not go to New Jersey State Prison if your record is clean, including no municipal court convictions. However, county jail is NOT considered incarceration. Therefore, a judge can send you to the county jail for up to 364 days for 3rd or 4th degree resisting arrest charges even if you have no criminal record.
It is at the judge’s discretion whether to sentence you to County Jail or waive the PNI after considering all aggravating factors involved with your arrest. The Judge will consider why you were being arrested, your overall demeanor at the time of the arrest, and whether or not you pose a threat to the community. It is critical to your defense that you have proper and professional legal representation you when the judge is determining this factor. You want the best possible defense strategy in place to help protect your rights against trumped up charges and wrongful resisting arrest charges.
Consequences for Juveniles Who Resist Arrest in New Jersey
For some young people or juveniles, the police are intimidating. This intimidation might cause them to back away from an officer or flee the scene if the officer is making any form of threat, such as an arrest. This action could be misconstrued as resisting arrest.
If the officers do not communicate clearly to the juvenile, they may not be aware of what action is attempting to happen. They may not understand the officer is trying to arrest them. Not understanding the situation may result in them acting defensively, which in turn is misunderstood as resisting arrest. Some juveniles think that because they are under 18 years old, they cannot be arrested or can outrun police officers.
Judges can be understanding of juvenile’s emotional states, but you will want them to have the representation of an experienced attorney to help them through these charges. Even the most understanding judge still has the power to send your young child to a juvenile detention facility, and you want to protect them against such punishment.
Penalties for Resisting Arrest in New Jersey
This is a summary of statutes regarding New Jersey’s resisting arrest laws:
- Resisting arrest with no flight– This charge would be considered a disorderly person offense as you are charged with attempting to prevent a police officer from effectively perform your arrest. It is punishable with up to six months in jail.
- Resisting arrest with a flight- This charge would be considered a fourth-degree crime as you are accused of attempting to prevent an officer from arresting you by fleeing the scene. If convicted, this charge would lead to eighteen-month incarceration.
- Eluding an officer-
- Third- degree crime– The charge is considered a third-degree crime as you have used physical force against the officer during an arrest, or you have threatened some form of violence against them. It will also be charged if you are in a vehicle and attempt to flee when requested to stop your car. If convicted of this charge, you would face up to five years in prison.
- Second-degree crime- If you created a risk of death or injury to others during the flight to elude or resist arrest, it would be charged as a second-degree crime. If convicted of this charge, you would face up ten years in prison. Your driver’s license will also be suspended from six months to two years.
Defense Against Resisting Arrest Charges in New Jersey
Your best defense against resisting arrest charges in New Jersey include having experienced legal representation. Howard Lesnik, Esq. is ready to protect your rights and future with the compassion you deserve during this difficult time.
The prosecution will bear the burden of proving a case of resisting arrest against you. This burden includes establishing the case beyond a reasonable doubt. A typical defense strategy against this charge will consist of arguing the prosecution did not meet this burden. An experienced defense attorney can successfully argue that the police did not have the legal authority to attempt to arrest you in the first place.
The prosecution is going to have to prove you were attempting to prevent the arrest. If you were uncomfortable at the time or were scared, it could mean your actions were not intentional to avoid the arrest but were due to physical discomfort or fear. This fear or pain could result from the officer not acting appropriately, which will give you a valid defense against this charge.
You want strong legal representation to build a strong defense strategy. Howard Lesnik, Esq. understands your priorities and is ready to help you develop a legal strategy to fight these charges and ensure your rights and future are protected.
Contact Howard P. Lesnik, Esq. Immediately
I am a New Jersey criminal trial attorney board certified by the NJ Supreme Court. New Jersey’s resisting arrest laws are extremely complex. Anyone who is charged with a SERIOUS court case needs to have an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you are a family member were issued a criminal charge for resisting arrest in New Jersey, contact me immediately so I can review your case and the evidence against you and advise you as to all possible defenses to make sure that you are properly represented. In many cases and circumstances a successful defense can lead to a downgrade or even the dismissal of the charges against you. Please contact me now by email, by phoning 908.264.7701, or by completing the form to the right to schedule your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.