Resisting arrest is a charge often brought upon people that refuse to go down without a fight when they believe they are innocent. It may be your natural instinct to fight back if you’ve done nothing wrong, but doing so will make matters worse. When a person is placed under arrest, they do not have the right to resist, even if it is an unlawful arrest. Under New Jersey law, resisting or eluding arrest is defined as purposefully preventing or attempting to prevent law enforcement from making an arrest.
Charges and Penalties
Under New Jersey Law, eluding arrest is classified as a disorderly persons offense. If you are found guilty, you can face up to six months in prison. Under the following circumstances, the crime becomes more serious and can be upgraded from a misdemeanor:
- Fourth degree offense. If an individual flees from a police officer they can face up to eighteen months in prison.
- Third degree offense. A person can face up to a five-year sentence if they create a substantial risk of physical injury to any person while trying to evade the arrest by using, or threatening to use, physical force.
- Second-degree offense. If a motor vehicle is used to evade arrest, the individual will lose their driving privileges for six months to two years and face up to ten years in prison.
Defenses to Resisting Arrest
The prosecution is required to establish certain elements to prove an eluding arrest offense. An experienced attorney may be able to have your case dismissed with a strong defense strategy.
The prosecutor must prove that it was your deliberate objective to prevent the arrest. If you wiggled or writhed around because you were in pain or scared, it can be argued that it was not your intention to resist arrest.
Additionally, the prosecutor must show that the police officer was acting under the color of law and announced their intention to arrest. If you did not know you were under arrest, this can be used to fight the charges.
If there was any improper police conduct or the officer was not acting appropriately at the time of the arrest, it can be used as a valid defense to have the charges downgraded or dismissed.
When dealing with the police it is important to stay calm at all times, regardless of police behavior. Do not engage them, especially when you are angry. If you have been charged with resisting arrest, you need the help of legal representation. If you are convicted, you face fines, jail time, and a criminal record that will tarnish your reputation. Defense attorney David C. Barry will ensure the protection of your rights and interests. If you have been charged with eluding arrest, we may be able to have your charges downgraded or even dismissed. Call today at (732) 238-8686.