To learn more about resisting arrest laws in New Jersey, read on and reach out to our firm today to speak with a skilled Bergen County criminal defense attorney.
What are New Jersey’s resisting arrest laws?
Most arrests end without incident, but there are times where police and civilian interactions that go wrong. Police officers are instructed to obey certain procedures when they are conducting an arrest. If the officer does not follow the protocol, then it might be a matter of police misconduct and the officer could be punished. On the other side of the equation, if a civilian struggles with an officer during the arrest or attempts to get out of handcuffs, then they may face resisting arrest charges. The consequences of these types of interactions between police and citizens can be life-altering or even fatal. This is why it’s crucial to understand the rights and responsibilities of civilians when dealing with law enforcement. State laws outline specifically prohibited behavior that constitutes resisting arrest.
The least severe resisting arrest violation in New Jersey is categorized as a disorderly person’s offense, which is the New Jersey equal to a misdemeanor in other states. However, if you leave the scene or try to flee, then your charges will be upgraded to a crime in the fourth degree (equivalent to a felony in other states). If your conduct involves a motor vehicle and the officer tells you to stop and you don’t, then you may be charged with a crime in the third degree. Lastly, if your flight creates a risk of bodily injury to any person, then the offense is referred to as a second-degree crime.
What are the consequences of resisting arrest in New Jersey?
The state of New Jersey treats this offense very seriously, and as a result, penalties can include incarceration and/or fines, restitution, and probation. However, you will want to keep in mind that the specific penalties rely on the facts of the case and other factors such as the defendant’s criminal history.
Resisting arrest (no flight)
Disorderly person’s offense: Prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest is punishable by 6 months of incarceration.
Resisting arrest with flight
- Fourth-degree crime: By flight, purposefully preventing or attempting to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest is punishable by up to 18 months of incarceration.
Eluding an officer
- Use of physical force or violence (or threats) against the law enforcement officer or another; or
- Any other means to create a substantial risk of causing physical injury to the public servant or another.
- An individual who knowingly flees or attempts to elude a police or law enforcement officer when the officer signals to bring the vehicle to a full stop.
- Punishable by up to 5 years incarceration.
Second-degree crime: If the flight or attempt to elude creates a risk of death or injury to any person, the offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Additionally, suspension of driver’s license or privilege to operate a vessel for a period of 6 months up to 2 years.
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