resisting arrest

A resisting arrest charge is a double whammy. Not only do you face the penalties for the crime you were getting arrested for, but you also face the penalties of resisting the arrest. Resisting arrest is usually classified as a disorderly persons offense. However, depending on the situation, it could be a third- or fourth-degree crime. If you face charges of a crime and resisting arrest, the first crucial step is contacting a New Jersey attorney. In cases like this, you will need someone to defend you for the original crime and the resisting arrest charge. An experienced attorney like Leon Matchin can help you have both charges downgraded or even dropped! Here is what to expect when you go to court for a resisting arrest charge.

The Charge

In the state of New Jersey, resisting arrest is defined in Section 2C:29-2. The law states: “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.” The law states that resisting arrest is a fourth-degree crime if “by flight” the arrest is resisted. The crime moves to the third-degree if the person uses physical force or violence against the officers. 

Additionally, this law applies to people operating motor vehicles. If you are driving and an officer signals you to pull over, you must pull over as soon as safely possible. Otherwise, if you try to flee the officer, the crime moves to the third degree. If fleeing from the officer by car puts someone at risk of death or serious injury, the crime moves into the second-degree.

The Penalties for Resisting Arrest

The penalties associated with resisting an arrest depend on the level of crime classification. Here is what to expect:

  • Disorderly Persons Offense: Potential jail time (up to 6 months), fines up to $1,000, paying an assessment of around $125 to the Victims of Crime Compensation Board and the Safe Neighborhood Services Fund.
  • Fourth-Degree Crime: Jail time up to 18 months, fines up to $10,000, potential restitution, community services, and probation.
  • Third-Degree Crime: Jail time up to 5 years, fines up to $15,000.

If resisting the arrest was a third- or fourth-degree crime, it would show up as a criminal charge on your permanent record. Unfortunately, this can make things like applying for jobs, signing up for the military, or applying for college very difficult. When working with an attorney, the goal is always to get the resisting arrest charge dropped. If this isn’t possible, the goal is to have the charge downgraded to a disorderly persons offense to prevent the criminal charge from being on your permanent record.

The Possible Defenses for Resisting Arrest

An attorney like Leon Matchin works hard to help create solid defenses for all of his clients. The key is for him to learn all the details surrounding the resistance to arrest. By working with an experienced attorney, you can expect them to view all the details of your case to come up with a good defense in court. These are some common defenses in resisting arrest cases:

  • The police officer used unreasonable force during the arrest. If a police officer uses unnecessary and unreasonable force, the defendant may resist in order to protect themselves. Even if the person broke a law and the arrest is justified, unreasonable force is not legal. In court, it can also be claimed that the defendant was practicing self-defense to avoid the unnecessary force.
  • You didn’t know you were being arrested. If you were unaware you were being arrested, how could you resist an arrest? A police officer must tell you their intent to arrest you before they perform the action. This is more common in driving cases where someone didn’t realize they were being pulled over. Sometimes this can occur on busy highways, where it can be unclear who a police officer is looking to pull over. 
  • A simple argument. Arguing with a police officer about your arrest is not the same thing as resisting an arrest. If the defendant peacefully spoke to express an opinion, this is not the same as fleeing the scene. 

Tips For Working With Your Attorney on Your Resisting Arrest Charge

The key factor in having a successful relationship with your attorney is sharing all the details of your situation and why you resisted the arrest. Because of this, it is essential that the attorney hears the full extent of the story and understands your motive for resisting the arrest. Provide your attorney with any information or evidence that could be used in court in your defense. No detail is too small! When working on a case, an attorney needs to hear every detail possible to put together the perfect defense. Remember, your attorney will be working on the resisting arrest charge and the original charge simultaneously. Any information you can share about both situations is important. 

Receiving a resisting arrest charge is a challenging position to be in. You have the original charge for which you were arrested, as well as a resisting arrest charge. Depending on the situation, this charge can be a disorderly persons offense or a criminal charge. As a result, an experienced attorney like Leon Matchin will help you navigate your charges and teach you about what to expect in court. If you have received a resisting arrest charge, it’s essential to seek out the help of an attorney as soon as possible! Contact New Jersey attorney Leon Matchin right away by phone at (833) 732-7320, or email him at [email protected]