Resisting Arrest Charges in NJ
August 6, 2018
Resisting arrest is the act of physically struggling against, attempting to, or threaten to escape from being restrained. More specifically, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2 stipulates that a person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if they prevent or attempt to prevent a law enforcement officer from performing an arrest. Furthermore, it states that a person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if they purposely flee from their arrest.
In New Jersey, this serious offense can incur fines, jail time, and a criminal record for the offender. If the accused threatened or used violence and physical force against the officer, penalties will be more severe.
Fleeing the Scene
N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2 also applies to motor vehicles on state roads and vessels on state waterways. Anyone operating a car, truck, or boat who flees from a law enforcement officer after being told to stop operating the vehicle commits a third degree crime. In addition to other severe penalties, this charge can result in driver’s license suspension or the loss of vessel operating privileges for up to two years.
Obstruction of Justice
Eluding an officer or attempting obstruction of detention involving themselves or another person for an offense or violation also constitutes serious charges. Hiding or providing aid to a criminal, concealing evidence, witness tampering, hiding documents, intimidation, and providing false information all fall under this umbrella and are considered third degree offenses.
Defense Strategies for Resisting Arrest Charges
In resisting arrest cases, the prosecutor must prove that the resistance was done intentionally with a conscious goal of preventing or hampering the arrest. It must also be proved that the accused was fully aware that they were under arrest at the time, and that the officer was acting lawfully.
Police officers may use reasonable force during an arrest, especially in cases where the accused uses force on them first. However, if the officer’s level of responding violence is not justified, there may be a case for self-defense. The person may have been protecting themselves, avoiding a blow, or simply moving around. This defense will not apply if the individual was acting violently towards the officer.
Another defense is unlawful arrest. If the police officer was not acting appropriately, a case can be made. This includes arrests that are made without warrants or probable cause. For the latter, there must be evidence and facts that would lead the officer to believe that a crime was committed, such as weapon or drug paraphernalia.
Haddon Heights Criminal Lawyer at the Law Office of Thomas J. Gossé Fights Resisting Arrest Charges
If you have been charged with resisting arrest, you need the guidance of a knowledgeable Haddon Heights criminal lawyer at the Law Office of Thomas J. Gossé for expert representation. Call 856-546-6600 or complete an online form to schedule a free consultation. We are in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, and we serve clients from the surrounding areas.