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Resisting an Arrest, Summons, or Charge

If you are in the unfortunate circumstance of being arrested or summoned by the court system of New York or New Jersey, it is only natural to want to retreat or resist the arrest. However, resisting an arrest alone can be seen as a criminal offense. If you or someone close to you has received a criminal complaint, summons, or ticket for resisting arrest, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Ellis Law for assistance.

New Jersey Resisting Arrest Law

With regards to Resisting Arrest or Eluding an Officer, NJ Law provides that:

  • If an individual intentionally attempts to prevent or actually prevents a law enforcement officer from performing an arrest, that individual is guilty of a disorderly persons offense of resisting arrest. A disorderly persons charge is considered a misdemeanor charge and can be punished with up to six month in jail after being litigated in Municipal Court.
  • If an individual intentionally attempts to prevent or actually prevents by flight a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest, that person is guilty of a Fourth Degree Offense. Any resistance in the form of actual fleeing an officer may be tried as a Fourth Degree Offense. A Fourth Degree Offense is an indictable felony charge and litigated in New Jersey Superior Court. This charge can carry up to 18 months of jail time.
  • If an individual threatens or actually uses physical force or violence against another individual or the law officer or if that individual creates a substantial risk of causing physical injury to another individual, that person is guilty of a Third Degree Offense. If physical force or any threat of physical force against the arresting officer is made, the Resisting Arrest charge becomes a Third Degree Offense. A Third Degree Offense is a felony charge punishable with up to 5 years in jail.

Determining Resisting Arrest

As the grade of offense for the charge becomes more serious, the prosecution must establish various elements of proof to determine guilt in a Resisting Arrest charge.

  •  To prove a disorderly persons offense of resisting arrest, the state must prove that a police officer attempted to make the arrest, that officer had authority to make the arrest under color of law and announced their attention to arrest, that the person accused of resisting the arrest actually attempted to prevent their arrest, and the conduct of the accused was intentional to prevent the arrest.
  • If the charge is escalated to a Fourth Degree Resisting Arrest charge, the state must also establish the additional element of flight.
  • If the charge is further escalated to a Third Degree Resisting Arrest charge, the prosecutor has the additional responsibility of proving the accused created a substantial risk of physical injury to the police or that the accused threatened to use or actually used physical violence or force against the police.

The attorneys at Ellis Law, will thoroughly examine your Resisting Arrest for any weaknesses in the prosecution. An illegal or unlawful arrest will not necessarily negate a Resisting Arrest Charge. Provided the law enforcement officer was acting lawfully in making the arrest and announces his intention to arrest the individual prior to any act of resistance, it is not a valid defense against a resisting arrest charge to claim the officer was acting unlawfully in making the arrest. However, the Resisting Arrest charge will not stand unless the law enforcement officer had the authority to make the arrest as well as announced his intention to arrest.

Our criminal defense attorneys will aggressively defend your case involving Eluding an Officer or Resisting an Arrest. If you are facing a resisting arrest indictment, ticket of summons, or complaint, call Ellis Law at 888-355-4752 for your free consultation. Or you can reach us online by filling out our contact form.

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Herbert Ellis

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