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Resisting Arrest: N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2a

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Resisting Arrest N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2a

Resisting arrest is one of the most common criminal charges in the State of New Jersey. Unfortunately, resisting arrest is a catch-all charge that police sometimes use when they had no legal right to make an arrest in the first place. For example, a police officer might have wrongfully arrested you for something like simple assault or disorderly conduct. When the police realize that a person was wrongfully arrested, they could be subject to a civil suit and significant penalties; a resisting arrest charge gives the police leverage in these situations. The bad news is that a resisting arrest conviction could result in significant penalties, including prison time. That’s why it is crucial for you to speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer if you are facing resisting arrest charges in Newark or Essex County, New Jersey.

The experienced criminal defense lawyers at our law firm represent clients who have been charged with resisting arrest throughout Essex County, NJ, including Belleville, Montclair, West Orange, Bloomfield, Irvington, and Cedar Grove. We understand the nuances of criminal laws and statutes in New Jersey, which gives us a major advantage when we defend you against unwarranted charges. Our firm’s founding partner, Travis J. Tormey, previously worked at the United States Attorney’s Office. If you have been charged with resisting arrest in an Essex County municipality, call our office in Newark today at 201-654-3464 for a free consultation. A member of our criminal defense team will be happy to speak with you about your resisting arrest charges and help you take steps to ensure that you avoid the most serious penalties.

Resisting Arrest in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2a

Resisting arrest is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2(a). Generally speaking, a person is guilty of resisting arrest when they intentionally prevent a law enforcement officer from making an arrest. The statute specifies three specific types of resisting arrest:

  • Preventing an Arrest: It is against the law to purposely prevent, or attempt to prevent, a police officer from making an arrest. This charge is classified as a disorderly persons offense.
  • Flight from an Arrest: It is against the law to flee a police officer when the officer is trying to make an arrest. This charge can be classified as a fourth degree criminal offense.
  • Eluding an Officer: It is against the law to use a motor vehicle when fleeing a police officer. This charge is classified as a third degree criminal offense; if the suspect endangered another person’s life while using a motor vehicle to flee a police officer, the charge may be elevated to a second degree criminal offense.

You should be aware that it is never okay to resist arrest. Even if you believe that the police officer is subjecting you to an unlawful arrest, you are not allowed to resist.

What are the Penalties for Resisting Arrest in NJ?

Since resisting arrest is considered a “violent” offense in most jurisdictions, the penalties can be severe. The precise range of penalties for resisting arrest is determined by the underlying charge:

  • Second Degree Felony: If you are convicted of operating a motor vehicle while fleeing police and you created a risk of death or injury to another person, you may be sentenced to 5–10 years in state prison.
  • Third Degree Felony: If you are convicted of using violence or threatening the use of violence against the police officer while resisting arrest, you may be sentenced to 3–5 years in state prison.
  • Fourth Degree Felony: If you are convicted of fleeing police in an attempt to prevent an arrest, you may be sentenced to up to 18 months in state prison.
  • Disorderly Persons Offense: If you are convicted of merely preventing a police officer from making an arrest, you may be sentenced to up to 6 months in county jail.

Contact a Bloomfield Resisting Arrest Attorney Today

If you have been accused of resisting arrest in Essex County, the skilled attorneys at our firm are ready to fight your charges. We will do whatever it takes to help you avoid the imposition of a jail term. Call us anytime at 201-654-3464, or fill out the online contact form to schedule a free consultation at our Newark office.

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