Resisting Arrest in New Jersey

Burlington County Criminal Lawyers

police restraining a man

Resisting arrest in New Jersey is not taken lightly.  Being charged with resisting arrest can result in a criminal record and the consequences can often be more severe than the original cause of your arrest.  If you have been charged with such an offense, you need to obtain the assistance of an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney.

The dedicated Burlington County criminal lawyers at the Law Offices of Michele Finizio can help.  Our skilled attorneys will provide you with an aggressive defense to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

What is a Resisting Arrest Charge?

Under N.J.S.A. 2C: 29-2, New Jersey defines the offense of resisting arrest as purposely preventing a law enforcement officer from effecting a lawful arrest.  Resisting arrest is a disorderly persons offense that may be elevated to an indictable crime if the person uses or threatens to use force or violence against the officer or uses any other means to create a substantial risk of causing physical injury to the public servant or another.

Penalties of Resisting Arrest Offense

If convicted of this disorderly persons offense, a person could receive a fine of up to $1000, plus assessments and possibly six months in prison.  If you try to run away from the scene of the arrest, you may be looking at 18 months in prison.  The crime becomes even more serious if you threaten to use force or violence against a police officer or create a substantial risk of physical injury to any person while trying to evade the arrest.  Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C: 29-2(a)(3), this is a third degree crime and could mean spending up to five years in prison.

A person may be convicted of this offense even if the arrest was unlawful,  providing the officer did not use unlawful force.  An individual cannot be charged under this law for resisting arrest from a private security officer, such as in the case of shoplifting.  Also, a successful prosecution must establish that the individual knew they were under arrest or that the officer was acting under the color of the law when he made the arrest.  Therefore, if the officer was not acting appropriately or within the scope of his or her police duties, then the individual will have  a valid defense to the crime of resisting arrest.