If you find yourself in a situation about to be arrested by police, it may seem that the best option for your criminal record is to run and try to get away with it. This is not true, as you will almost certainly be caught and then have an additional charge to fight, which is resisting arrest, sometimes also known as eluding an officer. This crime is automatically a disorderly persons offense that could be potentially raised to third or fourth degree crime.
Resisting Arrest Defined: This charge happens if a person is purposely preventing a police officer from carrying out in intended arrest. This will be raised to a third degree offense if they use violence or physical force to prevent the arrest, and fourth degree if they flee from the officer.
This is a tricky offense that can have some surprising applications. Even if an individual being handcuffed pulls away to make it difficult for offers to do so, they can be hit with this offense. Additionally, a person can be convicted of eluding an officer even when the arrest was unlawful, except in the cases of unnecessary force.
Penalties Associated: Under the regular disorderly persons offense, a person convicted of eluding or resisting arrest will face an additional fine of $1,000 and other smaller fees coming to about $125. They can also face an additional six months in jail, and have their driver’s license revoked if a vehicle was used in the offenses’ undertaking. For an individual in public office, they may lose their position.
The conviction can be expunged no earlier than five years after the sentence was placed, and only if they did not have another indictable offense or more than three disorderly or petty disorderly persons offenses. Additionally, there is a one year statute of limitations on this charge in which prosecution must begin after the offense allegedly occurs.
Possible Defenses: In an ideal situation, the defense will be able to dismiss the charges completely with a result of no fines, and no charge on the permanent record of the defendant. If this is not possible, a plea deal for some municipal ordinance can be attained. This will carry some fines still, though they are usually lesser and will not have the same intensity and stigma attached to it on the record of the defense.
If the charge of eluding or resisting arrest also exists along with a charge of obstructing administration of law, harassment or simple assault, the best course of action is for the defense to merge the charges together, rather than face them all separately with their distinct fines and other consequences. It’s also noteworthy that this offense does not apply in instances of resisting a private security officer who is not law enforcement.
What to Do: If you have been charged with eluding or resisting arrest, it’s vital that you seek professional legal representation as soon as possible. At Zapicchi & Liller, we have extensive experience representing clients facing similar charges, and will put our talents to work for you. Call us today for a free phone consultation at 609-291-9500 to learn more.