There are many situations in which someone can be charged with resisting arrest in Hunterdon County or anywhere else in the state of New Jersey. This offense isn’t limited to fighting against the police. In fact, it often arises as the result of someone simply pulling themselves away or failing to immediately submit to arrest. Irrespective of the reason you were accused of preventing or interfering with an arrest or eluding a police officer in Hunterdon County, having a highly qualified defense lawyer is your best way to prevent life impacting penalties.
Charges of Resisting Arrest in Hunterdon County, NJ
Aresisting arrest offense can be charged in three different degrees. Each dictates the severity of the penalties at sentencing pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2. Note also know that it is common for this violation to gget filed in connection with charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct and even simple assault. It is a disorderly persons offense to purposely prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting a lawful arrest. Engaging in flight to evade arrest raises resisting arrest to a fourth degree crime. Resisting arrest is a third degree crime if the accused uses or threatens to use physical force or violence against the officers or if they create a substantial risk injury to the police.
For a resisting arrest conviction, the required elements of the offense must be established.
First, defendant’s conduct must be purposeful. Their conscious object has to be to interfere or prevent arrest.
Second, the police officer has to be acting under “color of law” at the time of the arrest. This doesn’t say that the officer needs a valid legal basis for a particular arrest. Rather, the authority by virtue of operation of their duties to arrest individuals who break the law.
Third, the police officer is obligated to announce his/her intent to make an arrest.
Some additional elements must be demonstrated when someone is charged with fourth or third degree resisting arrest. This includes flight in the case of a fourth degree resisting arrest or force/violence/risk of injury for a third degree.
Am I Within my Rights to Resist An Unlawful Arrest?
Unfortunately, you are not. The law requires that persons submit to an arrest even if it is unlawful, for example, one where probable cause is lacking. The reasoning for this is to prevent escalation of a conflict. Youropportunity to contest the charge is in court, not in the field.
Is Self-Defense A Valid Defense Against a Resisting Arrest Charge?
Yes it is. An person can employ a reasonable level of force to break away from an officer who is being excessively brutal. Self-defense in this situation is limited to what is absolutely necessary for self preservation.
Possible Penalties For Resisting Arrest In Local Municipalities Like Union Township or Tewksbury
The severity of the penalties one can face for violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2 hinge on the grade of resisting arrest. You can face up to 6 months in Hunterdon County Jail and a $1,000 fine for a disorderly persons offense for resisting arrest in municipal court. A fourth or third degree charge is indictable, so these can only be heard at the county courthouse in Flemington. Fourth degree resisting arrest can get you up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. Third degree resisting arrest carries as much as 5 years in prison and a fine as high as $15,000.
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