An individual has no right to resist arrest in New Jersey. The law extends police officers tremendous deference in this regard and the penalties for Resisting Arrest can be severe. Due to the physical nature of an arrest, even a defendant who does not intend to resist his or her arrest can act in a way that is interpreted as resisting. These cases are very fact-sensitive and, as a result, it is important that defendants charged with Resisting Arrest consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
New Jersey statute 2C:29-2 provides:
2C:29-2. Resisting Arrest; Eluding Officer.
a. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (3), a person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if he purposely prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), a person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if he, by flight, purposely prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest.
(3) An offense under paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection a. is a crime of the third degree if the person:
(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.
It is not a defense to a prosecution under this subsection that the law enforcement officer was acting unlawfully in making the arrest, provided he was acting under color of his official authority and provided the law enforcement officer announces his intention to arrest prior to the resistance.
The State must prove the following to win a conviction for Resisting Arrest:
(1) a police officer was attempting to make an arrest;
(2) the defendant attempted to prevent, or actually did prevent, his or her arrest;
(3) the police officer was performing his duties under color of law and announced his intention to arrest the defendant; and
(4) the defendant’s conduct to prevent the arrest was intentional.
As noted in the statute, the penalties for Resisting Arrest will depend on the particular facts of the case. There is a wide range of consequences for Resisting Arrest, with jail terms ranging between 6 months and 5 years. Defendants are also subject to fines, probation, community service and a criminal record.
If you are charged with Resisting Arrest, it is imperative that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Our law firm has handled Resisting Arrest cases in New Jersey courts and has obtained favorable results for our clients. In fact, we recently won a jury trial in Monmouth County where our client was charged with Third Degree Resisting Arrest. Please contact our office for a complimentary consultation. Night and weekend appointments are available upon request.