Resisting Arrest Lawyer Lawrence, NJ
Veteran Criminal Defense Attorney Represents Clients Charged with Resisting Arrest in Mercer County, Burlington County, Middlesex County, and Monmouth County, NJ
Resisting or eluding a lawful arrest in New Jersey is not legal, even if you believe you are being wrongfully arrested for a crime that you did not commit. As long as the law enforcement officer announces his attention to arrest you prior to any resistance, you must allow the officer to arrest you and wait to fight the charges at a later time. While this may seem patently unfair to many individuals, New Jersey imposes this strict rule in order to protect police officers. Resisting arrest itself is a criminal offense, and it can be punished as a disorderly persons offense, third degree crime, or fourth degree crime, regardless of whether you are eventually convicted of committing the underlying action that motivated the arrest.
In my years of experience as a Lawrence resisting arrest attorney, I have seen many cases in which an individual was arrested for a crime or offense that he or she did not commit. I understand the resulting frustration that is inevitable under these circumstances, and I know how the appearance of an arrest on a criminal background check can impact your life. I will explain your options regarding expunging the arrest and can also provide a strong defense against the underlying charges if the prosecution decides to move forward with your resisting arrest case.
Penalties for Resisting Arrest in New Jersey Vary in Severity
The penalties for resisting or eluding arrest in NJ vary, based upon the circumstances surrounding the attempted arrest. Resisting arrest or eluding the police may be punishable as follows:
- Disorderly Persons Offense: Resisting arrest is a disorderly persons offense punishable by up to six months in jail if the individual purposefully prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement official from making an arrest.
- Fourth Degree Crime: Resisting arrest is elevated to a fourth degree criminal offense if the individual resists arrest by running from the police. A fourth degree crime is considered a felony, and it may be punished by up to 18 months in prison.
- Third Degree Crime: Resisting arrest is a third degree crime under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2 if the individual threatens to use or actually uses physical force or violence against the law enforcement officer or another individual, or creates a substantial risk of causing injury to the officer or another. Third degree criminal offenses can result in up to a five-year prison sentence.
Eluding a police officer while operating a motor vehicle or any other type of vessel can be either a second or third degree crime. N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2 provides that an individual is guilty of eluding a police officer if he or she knowingly flees or attempts to flee after the law enforcement officer signals the individual to bring the vehicle or vessel to a stop. The crime of eluding police is typically a third degree felony. If the flight or attempt to flee creates a risk of death or injury to any person, the charge can be elevated to a second degree felony. In addition to the penalties that otherwise apply to second or third degree crimes, the court can also suspend the person’s driver’s license for between six (6) months and two (2) years.
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Lauren Scardella Uses Years of Experience to Expunge Clients’ Resisting Arrest Charges in Trenton, NJ
Even if an individual is never convicted of any underlying charges, resisting arrest is an offense that will remain on that person’s criminal record, as will the arrest. However, in some cases, an experienced Robbinsville criminal defense lawyer can petition for the charges to be expunged to keep the individual’s criminal record clean. A resisting arrest conviction for a third degree or fourth degree crime can be expunged under N.J.S.A. 2C:52-2 if:
- The individual has no other indictable convictions,
- He or she has not been convicted of a disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense more than twice, and
- At least ten (10) years have elapsed since the individual completed his or her sentence, including parole, although it may be possible to apply for expungement early after five (5) years have passed.
If the resisting arrest charge was punished as a disorderly persons offense, the individual can petition for expungement after five (5) years have passed, or three (3) years at the court’s discretion.
Call Today to Discuss Your Hamilton Resisting Arrest Charges Free of Cost
At the Law Offices of Lauren E. Scardella in Hamilton, I take resisting arrest charges very seriously and understand the detrimental consequences that can arise from conviction of any crime—especially one that arose from a true belief on my client’s part that he or she was being arrested unlawfully. I provide a free consultation to discuss your case, so contact my office at 609-587-1144, or fill out this online form. I accept all major credit cards, and I am conveniently located at 2653 Nottingham Way STE 1, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.
Frequently Asked Questions About Resisting Arrest Charges in NJ
Is there any way to defend against a resisting arrest conviction in New Jersey?
Yes, defense avenues exist in every case. The most common way to defend against a resisting arrest charge is to show that you did not actually intend to resist arrest. In many cases, an individual who is nervous or frightened upon being arrested may move in ways that could suggest an intent to resist even if no such intent existed. The prosecution has a heavy burden of proof in these cases, and an experienced criminal defense attorney will evaluate the client’s testimony and prosecution’s evidence to determine the best possible defense.
If the arresting officer uses force against me in the arrest, am I entitled to defend myself?
In extremely rare cases, it can be found that the arresting officer used excessive force that could justify resisting arrest. However, the amount of force that was used to resist arrest must be proportionate to the amount of force used by the officer. The arresting officer has several defense avenues to accusations that he or she used excessive force, however, making it unlikely that this defense will be viable in the vast majority of resisting arrest cases. For example, if the individual being arrested has reason to believe that the arresting officer would stop using excessive force if the individual stopped resisting arrest, the excessive force defense will probably not stick.