Resisting Arrest Can Worsen Your Charges
One of the worst things you can do when being placed under arrest by police is to struggle with or resist the arresting officer. Even if you are being wrongfully arrested, you need to comply with the officer’s requests and let the legal process play out. In fact, many criminal defendants in New Jersey find that their original criminal charges have been dismissed – only to face new charges for resisting arrest. Worse yet, a resisting arrest conviction carries severe penalties that include prison time.
The difficulty that many people face when being approached by police is that they get nervous. Perhaps you acted out of fear when you resisted the officer. Or perhaps you knew that the officer was making a mistake. Regardless of the reason for your arrest, however, resisting police in any way can have serious consequences.
In New Jersey, resisting arrest charges and eluding police charges are both addressed by N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2. The statute sets forth varying penalties for these crimes, depending on the circumstances:
·Preventing an Arrest
If you merely prevent a police officer from placing you under arrest, you can be charged with a disorderly persons offense. Disorderly persons offenses can result in a sentence of up to six months in the local county jail.
Flight from an Arrest
If you ran from police while resisting arrest, the charge may be classified as a fourth degree felony. A conviction for fourth degree resisting arrest can lead to a sentence of up to 18 months in NJ State Prison.
Violently Resisting Arrest
If you used force or violence against the arresting officer while resisting arrest, the charges can be elevated to a third degree felony. A conviction on third degree resisting arrest charges could lead to a sentence of 3-5 years in state prison.
If you used a motor vehicle while fleeing police, the charge can be classified as a third degree crime. If you placed anyone else’s life in danger during the pursuit, the charge can be elevated to a second degree crime and result in a sentence of 5-10 years in state prison.
If you have been charged with resisting arrest or eluding in Atlantic County, NJ, you need a skilled criminal defense attorney on your side. The experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you fight your charges and avoid going to jail. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.