Resisting arrest charges in New Jersey are normally the result of a defendant’s alcohol or drug consumption when they become belligerent or incoherent. But it can even be the result of a defendant trying to flee on foot after being ordered to stop. New Jersey takes resisting arrest charges very seriously because it normally involves violence or force towards a police officer. A conviction for resisting arrest will result in a permanent criminal record and can expose you to community service, probation and incarceration. As founding partner, Will Proetta, Esq., has successfully handled thousands of criminal and municipal court charges including resisting arrest throughout his career. We defend clients for resisting arrest and related charges such as DWI, Disorderly Conduct, Obstruction of Justice, and Hindering Apprehension throughout Hudson County, New Jersey including North Bergen, Harrison, Bloomfield, Bayonne, Guttenberg, Secaucus, and Union City. If you would you would like to speak with a criminal defense lawyer then please contact our Jersey City office at (201) 793-8018 for a free initial consultation.
2C:29-2 Resisting Arrest New Jersey Law
The New Jersey law governing resisting arrest charges is listed below, in pertinent part, for your convenience.
§ 2C:29-2. Resisting Arrest
a. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (3), a person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if he purposely prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest. (2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), a person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if he, by flight, purposely prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest. (3) An offense under paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection a. is a crime of the third degree if the person:
(a) Uses or threatens to use physical force or violence against the law enforcement officer or another; or
(b) Uses any other means to create a substantial risk of causing physical injury to the public servant or another.
As strange as it might sound, it is not a valid defense if the arrest was not lawful. All that is required for a resisting arrest conviction is that the police officer is acting within his official duties and announces his intention to arrest prior to any resistance.
Understanding NJ Resisting Arrest Charges
A person can be charged with a resisting arrest offense under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2 if they purposefully prevent or attempt to prevent a law enforcement officer from making an arrest. Generally, resisting arrest is a disorderly persons offense punishable by up to 6 months in the county jail and a $1,000 fine. However, if you are accused of resisting arrest by “flight,” meaning you attempted to run away or “flee” from the arrest, the charge will be upgraded to a fourth degree crime, which exposes you to up to 18 months in NJ State Prison. In even more serious cases, resisting arrest is classified as a third degree crime if the offense involves the use of violence or threat of violence against a law enforcement officer, or if your conduct creates a risk of serious injury to someone else. Third degree resisting arrest may result in a prison sentence ranging from 3 to 5 years.
Notably, the fact that the arrest was unlawful is not considered a valid defense in New Jersey. As long as the officer announces his intention to make an arrest and is operating in an official capacity, resisting the arrest or attempting to prevent it is considered a crime. Nevertheless, there are defenses available when confronting a resisting arrest charge. For example, if you were injured or in pain and attempting to free yourself because the officer was hurting you, this may be an effective issue to raise in court. An experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyer can examine the circumstances of your specific case to identify the best avenue for dismissal. In some cases, a diversionary program may be a good option to have the charges dismissed after completing a probationary period.
Jersey City NJ Lawyer for Resisting Arrest
As seen in the above statute, resisting arrest is typically a disorderly persons offense but it can be easily escalated to a fourth degree and third degree felony if a defendant interferes with an arrest, uses or threatens force against a police officer. This is why it should be no surprise that resisting arrest is commonly amended to aggravated assault of a police officer when physical force is actually used against any arresting officers. At the Law Offices of William A. Proetta, our experienced criminal lawyers are often able to get our client’s resisting arrest charges downgraded, dismissed altogether, or secure admittance into a Pre-Trial Intervention. Our law firm defends clients for resisting arrest charges throughout New Jersey including Montclair, Weehawken, Belleville, Kearny, West New York, Hoboken, and Nutley. With an office conveniently located in Jersey City, we defend clients throughout northern New Jersey charged with serious criminal offenses. If you would like to speak with an experienced resisting arrest lawyer regarding your case, then contact our Jersey City office at (201) 793-8018 for a free consultation.
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