Resisting Arrest Attorney in Ocean County
Seaside Heights NJ Resisting Arrest Lawyer
Resisting Arrest, also known as Eluding a Police Officer, commonly occurs in alcohol-related incidents. Due to officer and public safety concerns, Jersey Shore towns like Seaside Park, Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant and Toms River aggressively prosecutes this crime. A conviction on resisting arrest charges will result in substantial jail time, probation, mandatory community service, and thousands of dollars in monetary fines.
Our firm’s founding partners are experienced litigation attorneys well-versed in a defended the accused against criminal offenses like resisting arrest as well as associated charges such as Disorderly Conduct, Eluding, Aggravated Assault, Heroin Possession and Simple Assault throughout Ocean County, including Seaside Park, Point Pleasant, Beach Haven, Forked River, Lakehurst, New Egypt, Brick Township, Manchester, Toms River, and Jackson. When our clients face Resisting Arrest charges, our first step is usually to seek to resolve the charges with the prosecution in order to achieve a downgrade or complete dismissal. In the event that option is not available, then we are prepared to aggressively litigate your case. To speak with an Ocean County criminal defense lawyer to discuss your options or build a customized case strategy designed to meet your legal needs, please contact our Toms River office at (848) 238-2100 for a free initial consultation.
What are Resisting Arrest Charges in NJ?
For your convenience, the New Jersey law governing resisting arrest charges, found in section N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2. Pursuant to this statute, there are three ways the State can charge someone with Resisting Arrest: Disorderly Persons Resisting Arrest, Fourth Degree Resisting Arrest or Third Degree Resisting Arrest. Depending upon the facts alleged in your case, the charges for Resisting Arrest will be filed under one of these three sections.
Disorderly Persons Resisting Arrest
A person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if he/she purposely prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest. This is the most common charged form of this crime and typically happens when individuals attempt to wrestle their arms free of a police officers grip or break free of handcuffs.
Fourth Degree Resisting Arrest
A person is guilty of fourth degree resisting arrest if he/she, by flight, purposely prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest. This typically involves some form of escape using a car, bicycle or your own two legs.
Third Degree Resisting Arrest
Lastly, a person is guilty of third degree resisting arrest if he or she purposely prevents a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest and either:
(a) Uses or threatens to use physical force or violence against the law enforcement officer or another; or
(b) Uses any other means to create a substantial risk of causing physical injury to the public servant or another.
We most commonly see this charge filed when someone, whether intoxicated or sober, flails their arms and strikes a police officer in the course of making an arrest. These charges tend to boil down to proving whether or not your actions were done purposely or inadvertently.
It should be noted that it is not a valid defense if the arrest was not lawful. All that is required is that the police officer is acting within his official duties and announces his intention to arrest prior to any resistance.
Can I Be Charged with Resisting Arrest if I Didn’t Know it Was a Cop?
An officer may use, to effect an arrest, the amount of force necessary to accomplish the arrest. However, there is a self-defense claim that can be raised in the context of Resisting Arrest charges when the officer’s force exceeds that necessary to effectuate the arrest. This defense carries a high burden of proof and several factors must be proven before the court will accept such a defense. Specifically, A person may use force to protect himself/herself if four conditions exist:
- The person reasonably believes that he/she is protecting himself/herself against unlawful force.
- The person reasonably believes that he/she has the right to use force.
- The person reasonably believes that the use of force is immediately necessary.
- The person reasonably believes that he/she is using the force to protect himself/herself.
A person may not, however, resist any arrest he/she knows is being made by an officer in of the officer’s duties, whether the arrest is legal or illegal, unless that officer uses unlawful force.
What are the Penalties for Resisting Arrest in NJ?
The penalties for resisting arrest will vary in severity based upon the degree of the charge. Specifically, a Third Degree Resisting Arrest charge carries a term of incarceration between three (3) and five (5) years in a New Jersey State Prison, $15,000 fine. A Fourth Degree Resisting Arrest Charge carries a term of incarceration not to exceed eighteen (18) months in a New Jersey State Prison and a $10,000 fine. Lastly, a Disorderly Persons Resisting Arrest charge carries up to six (6) months in the Ocean County Jail and a $1,000 fine. Depending upon your prior criminal record and the facts of your case, you may be eligible for admission into a diversionary program like Pretrial Intervention or a Conditional Dismissal, both of which will help you avoid imprisonment and a criminal record. For more information on the penalties and your eligibility for a diversionary program, please call our office.
Manchester NJ Resisting Arrest Attorney
As illustrated in the above statute, resisting arrest is usually a disorderly persons offense. However, it may be upgraded to a fourth degree or third degree indictable offense depending upon the existence of aggravating factors. Additionally, resisting arrest charges can quickly be upgraded to the more serious crime of aggravated assault on a police officer if physical force is used against an arresting officer. If you are facing resisting arrest or eluding charges, then it is in your best interest to hire an experienced resisting arrest defense attorney to defend your rights and to give you options. A skilled Ocean County resisting arrest lawyer can greatly increase your chances to get your charges downgraded or dismissed, or to secure admittance into a diversion program. The William Proetta Criminal Law is conveniently located in Point Pleasant. Contact us if you would like to speak with an experienced resisting arrest lawyer for a free initial consultation at (848) 238-2100.