Resisting arrest and fleeing from law enforcement are serious crimes which, in some cases, have the potential to result in a permanent felony record.  If you or one of your loved ones is facing these allegations, it is crucially important that you take swift action to fight the charges and protect your legal rights.

At the Law Offices of John J. Zarych, our aggressive team of criminal defense lawyers brings more than 45 years of knowledge, skill, and experience to each case we handle.  We are firmly committed to serving our clients, no matter how challenging the legal circumstances.  Our attorneys represent adult and juvenile defendants throughout Atlantic County, Cape May County, and the surrounding communities of New Jersey.

Call our law offices at (609) 616-4956 to arrange for a free legal consultation.  We will keep your information completely confidential.  Se habla español.

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When Can You Be Charged with Eluding a Police Officer or Resisting Arrest in New Jersey?

The offense of resisting arrest is described under N.J.S.A. § 2C:29-2.  This statute provides three reasons a person can be charged with resisting arrest in the state of New Jersey:

  1. Deliberately stopping a police officer from making an arrest.
  2. Attempting to stop a police officer from making an arrest.
  3. Deliberately stopping or attempting to stop an arrest by fleeing the scene.

The same statute also contains information about the related but separate offense of eluding a police officer, which may or may not be charged in addition to or instead of resisting arrest depending on the circumstances.  A person may be arrested for eluding a police officer if he or she fails to pull over after being signaled to do so by a member of law enforcement.

Following an arrest, the officer will immediately bring the suspect to a police station to go through the booking process, which involves taking a mugshot, fingerprinting the suspect, and performing a search.  A detainee has the right to remain silent, and to be represented by an attorney during interrogations.

It’s extremely important for suspects to exercise this right in order to avoid accidental self-incrimination.  Unfortunately, criminal investigators will not hesitate to exploit a detainee’s stress, fear, and uncertainty in order to pry out incriminating statements and information.  If one of your loved ones is in police custody or is being held at a detention center or county jail, you should contact a defense attorney immediately.

Criminal Penalties for DP Offenses and Indictable Crimes: Fines and Sentencing

New Jersey uses the terms “indictable crime” or “indictable offense” to describe a felony, while a “disorderly persons offense” or “DP offense” is roughly equivalent to a misdemeanor.  Additionally, indictable crimes are subcategorized by degree, ranging from fourth to first degree.  Fourth degree crimes are the least serious on that scale, while first degree crimes are the most serious.

Resisting arrest can be a DP offense or an indictable crime depending on the circumstances of the act alleged, as described below:

  • Disorderly Persons Offense – Deliberately stopping, or attempting to stop, a police officer from making an arrest.
  • Fourth Degree Crime – Deliberately stopping, or attempting to stop, a police officer from making an arrest by fleeing.
  • Third Degree Crime – Committing either of the offenses described above while either:
    • Using or threatening to use violence or force against the police officer, or against any other person.
    • Doing anything which creates a “substantial risk of causing physical injury” to the police officer, or to any other person.

Unlike resisting arrest, eluding an officer is never a DP offense.  It is always an indictable crime, or felony.  Eluding an officer is typically a crime of the third degree, unless the flight “creates a risk of death or injury to any person,” in which case it becomes a crime of the second degree.

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These classifications are important because they impact the penalties a defendant may face if he or she is convicted or pleads guilty.  Criminal penalties in New Jersey can include:

  • Disorderly Persons Offense
    • Fine – Up to $1,000
    • Sentence – Up to 6 months in jail
  • Fourth Degree Crime
    • Fine – Up to $10,000
    • Sentence – Up to 18 months in jail
  • Third Degree Crime
    • Fine – Up to $15,000
    • Sentence – Up to 5 years in prison
  • Second Degree Crime
    • Fine – Up to $150,000
    • Sentence – Up to 10 years in prison

Rely on the Experience of a Knowledgeable Atlantic City Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or one of your loved ones has been accused of eluding an officer or resisting arrest in New Jersey, it is critical to move quickly to defend your Constitutional rights and protect your prized liberties.  The sooner you reach out to our criminal attorneys, the sooner we can assist you and answer your questions.  To set up a free legal consultation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 right away.  We make ourselves available around the clock, including weekends and holidays.