Resisting arrest is a frequently charged New Jersey criminal offense. In our experience, on many occasions there is a factual dispute as to whether the accused did anything that would constitute resisting arrest. Simply being upset is not resisting arrest. The police are quick to charge resisting if a suspect is not doing exactly what they ask. This doesn’t mean you are guilty. If during the execution of an arrest by police, an individual pulls away, struggles, or gives any other physical resistance that person can be charged with resisting arrest. But in our experience, we see many resisting arrest charges that do not meet the elements and should be dismissed.
In pertinent part, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2 provides:
- (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:
- Uses or threatens to use physical force or violence against the law enforcement officer or another; or
- Uses any other means to create a substantial risk of causing physical injury to the public servant or another.
It is not a defense to a prosecution under this subsection that the law enforcement officer was acting unlawfully in making the arrest, provided he was acting under color of his official authority and provided the law enforcement officer announces his intention to arrest prior to the resistance.
A person who attempts to resist arrest commits a disorderly persons offense. If convicted you may face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. These charges are typically handled in Municipal Court.
It is a 4th degree crime for a person to purposefully prevent, or attempt to prevent, an officer from making an arrest by flight or eluding. It is a 3rd degree crime to prevent or attempt to prevent an arrest by threatening a violent act or threaten to use physical force against another person or a police officer. This includes the use of any verbal or physical means to resist arrest that could create a substantial risk of harm to a police officer or another person. These charges are typically handled in Superior Court.
Get Help Today! Call a Union County Criminal Attorney
Resisting arrest charges are sometimes encompassed in Obstruction charges. If you have been charged with either it is imperative to speak with an attorney right away to discuss your options. Depending on your prior criminal history you may be eligible for Pre Trial Intervention (PTI). Successful completion of this program means there will be no criminal conviction on your record. The attorneys at our Union County criminal defense law firm are eager to assist you. We are available to answer any questions you may have during a free consultation.