Resisting arrest constitutes a serious crime under the laws of New Jersey. Even if you are being arrested for a crime you did not commit or being arrested without probable cause, resisting the efforts of law enforcement officers to effect your arrest can lead to harsh criminal penalties in the event of a conviction. If you have been charged with resisting arrest in NJ, you need to understand the charges against you and your legal rights and options for facing your prosecution.
What Constitutes Resisting Arrest?
Under New Jersey’s resisting arrest statute, a person may be charged with resisting arrest when they commit one or more of the three actions:
- Intentionally stopping a police officer from making an arrest
- Attempting to stop a police officer from making an arrest
- Interfering or attempting to interfere with an arrest by fleeing the scene
In New Jersey, the crime of resisting arrest is also closely related to the offense of eluding, with both crimes routinely charged together against a person who avoided or tried to avoid their arrest. Eluding is commonly charged when a person fails to stop or pull over when ordered to do so by a law enforcement officer.
What Are the Penalties for a Conviction for Resisting Arrest?
Resisting arrest may be charged as a disorderly persons offense (also known as a misdemeanor) or as an indictable offense (also known as a felony). The crime is usually charged as a disorderly persons offense only when a person stops or attempts to stop a law enforcement officer from making an arrest. However, the crime may be charged as a fourth-degree indictable offense when fleeing was involved. Finally, the grading of the offense may be increased to a third-degree indictable crime when the suspect used or threatened to use violence in stopping or attempting to stop their arrest, or created a substantial risk of injury to the police officer or another person.
The penalties for a resisting arrest conviction in New Jersey include:
- Disorderly persons offense: A fine of up to $1,000, and/or up to six months in jail
- Fourth-degree indictable offense: A fine of up to $10,000 and/or up to 18 months in jail
- Third-degree indictable offense: A fine of up to $15,000 and/or up to five years in jail
What Should You Do If You Are Charged with Resisting Arrest?
If you are charged with resisting arrest, the first thing you should do is to cease any further resistance to law enforcement officers. Even if you think you are being wrongly accused or intentionally harassed by law enforcement, resisting efforts to arrest you will only make it more certain that you are convicted of a crime, even if you were innocent of any underlying criminal accusations.
After you are detained on a charge of resisting arrest, you will be taken to the police station for booking and processing. Officers may also wish to question you. You should remember to exercise your right to remain silent. Although you may think you can talk your way out of a criminal charge, you will likely only give prosecutors additional evidence to use against you. Finally, you should invoke your right to speak to a criminal defense attorney, who can help you understand your legal rights and options and get to work preparing and pursuing a legal defense strategy on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced Audubon Criminal Defense Lawyer About Your Resisting Arrest Charges in New Jersey
Were you arrested or charged with resisting arrest in New Jersey? The consequences of a conviction could be severe, leaving you with a permanent criminal record and possibly even sending you to jail. That is why you need to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible about your case. The attorneys at Aydelotte & Scardella Law LLC have successfully represented clients charged with resisting arrest in Cherry Hill, Haddon Township, Camden, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 452-4820 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team. We have an office located at 109 E. Atlantic Ave., Audubon, NJ 08106, in addition to offices located in Hamilton.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.