New Jersey is a state with harsh criminal penalties for an array of crimes. However, some people may not realize additional criminal charges can be levied if the individual attempts to run from police, resist arrest, or take other steps intended to hinder his or her apprehension. Unfortunately, being charge with a crime due to an officer perceiving actions of this type can result in severe additional penalties in addition to those disorderly persons or indictable offenses that may be charged for the suspected or alleged underlying offense. As an aside, a “disorderly persons” offense is similar to a misdemeanor while and “indictable offense” in New Jersey is substantially similar to a felony charge in other jurisdictions.
In many cases the alleged resisting or fleeing behavior on the part of the defendant is alleged due to the officer’s interpretation of events despite the individual never intending to flee or resist arrest. The harsh criminal penalties authorized under New Jersey law are already exceedingly harsh. Facing additional charges due to perceived conduct can deprive an individual of additional years of freedom and result in perceptions that may result in harsher sentencing due to underlying biases.
An experienced Atlantic City criminal defense lawyer of the Law Firm of John J. Zarych can fight against the criminal charges you face. When your freedom is on the line, you need an aggressive and dependable criminal defense lawyer. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation call our criminal defense team at (609) 616-4956 or contact us online today.
How is Resisting Arrest or Eluding Defined Under New Jersey Law?
The exact crime one can be charged with is, of course, dependent on the perceived conduct giving rise to the misdemeanor or indictable offense. For instance, under 2C:29-1 – Obstructing administration of law or other governmental function – a person can be charged if he or she purposely obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle, or by means of any independently unlawful act.
Typically this is charged as a disorderly persons offense. However, if the individual takes actions that are intended to prevent a law enforcement officer from detecting or investigating a crime then a fourth-degree indictable offense can be charged.
However, another statute that may be considered in the context of resisting arrest or eluding an officer is codified under 2C:29-2 – Resisting arrest, eluding officer. This statute describes an number of scenarios that can give rise to an eluding or resisting charge and the applicable penalties. For instance a disorderly persons offense can be charged when a person intentionally attempts to or actually prevents a police officer from making an arrest. If that attempt is made by running away from the officer or hiding to avoid arrest, then a fourth-degree crime can be charged.
However, there are a number of circumstances where the attempt to flee or elude can be elevated to a third-degree crime. These scenarios include:
- The person threatens or actually uses physical force against a law enforcement officer or another person to avoid arrest.
- Any attempt that creates a “substantial risk of physical injury” can also result in an elevated charge for fleeing.
- Additionally, any person who makes use of a car, truck, boat, or other motor vehicle to flee after being instructed by an officer to bring the vehicle or vessel to a complete stop can also face a third-degree charge.
Should the attempt to flee by vehicle create a substantial risk of injury or death, then the charge for fleeing can be further upgraded to a second-degree crime. Furthermore, a license suspension from six months to two years can also be imposed for vehicular methods of fleeing.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer If You Have Been Charged with Resisting Arrest or Fleeing
The penalties for fleeing and resisting arrest can vary significantly depending on the conduct that was perceived by the officer. At the low-end of the spectrum you can face a disorderly persons offense while, at the high-end, a second-degree indictable offense – on the same level as robbery or aggravated assault – can be charged. However, with all of these charges, a possibility of jail time exists. For the most serious charge, a five to ten year prison sentence can apply.
If you have been charged with resisting arrest, fleeing, eluding or other crimes the experienced New Jersey criminal defense lawyers of the Law Firm of John J. Zarych can fight for you. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call our firm at (609) 616-4956 or contact us online today.