The potential of being arrested is a daunting prospect for most of us. It may be tempting do anything to get out of the situation. However, resisting a lawful arrest can have serious legal consequences.
As a result, the key components of what constitutes “resisting arrest” warrant further investigation.
Isn’t resisting arrest a minor offense?
Unlike many other states, New Jersey does not adopt the vocabulary of “misdemeanor” or “felony” offenses. Rather, more serious crimes are referred to simply as “crimes” and more minor offenses are called “disorderly person offenses”.
The law in New Jersey may classify resisting arrest in numerous different ways. A more peaceful case of resisting could be classified as a “disorderly person offense”. However, individuals may be charged with a crime in the fourth degree if they attempt to flee custody or the scene of a crime.
Furthermore, if resisting arrest results in an officer being put at risk of bodily harm, the charges against you could be escalated further. Resisting arrest in the second degree is a very serious crime that could potentially result in significant jail time.
What can you do if you’ve been charged with resisting arrest?
Typically, resisting arrest charges are considered separate from any other offenses, including those that may have led to your arrest. Even if the original charges are dropped, you could still face prosecution for resisting arrest. This is the case unless you can prove that you acted in self-defense and/or the arresting officers used excessive force.
Understanding the law relating to a resisting arrest charge could be in your best interests. The more you know about the law and your rights, the better you can participate in your own defense.