Defense Attorney for New Jersey Juvenile Arrests
A common charge that juveniles are cited for in New Jersey is resisting arrest. A combination of defiance, immaturity and unsophistication regarding the legal system increase the chances that juveniles may not cooperate with police when being placed in custody. Neither an adult or a juvenile has the right to resist arrest by a police officer under any circumstances. The irony is, the juvenile may be innocent of the underlying charge the police are investigating. However, that is not a defense to resisting arrest.
I have defended many juveniles across New Jersey against a wide variety of criminal offenses, including resisting arrest and eluding law enforcement officers. If your child is facing either of these charges, give my office a call for a consultation on your case. Being proactive early can often make the difference in a juvenile delinquency case.
New Jersey categorizes a certain class of criminal violations as “disorderly persons offenses.” In other states, these are commonly referred to as misdemeanors. An adult or juvenile who purposely attempts to prevent or actually prevents a police officer from making an arrest is liable for disorderly persons level resisting arrest. However, if the juvenile runs away from police who are attempting to arrest him or her, this escalates the offense to a fourth-degree crime.
The offense is even more serious if physical force or violence is used or threatened by the juvenile against anyone during the resisting of arrest. The same applies if a substantial risk of harm is created by the juvenile during this episode. In either case, the offense escalates to a third-degree crime. Resisting arrest charges can be tricky to defend since even if a police officer is acting unlawfully in making the arrest, the juvenile is still liable for resisting so long as he or she knew that a police officer was the individual making the arrest.
Eluding Law Enforcement
The same statute that prohibits resisting arrest also prohibits what is known as eluding law enforcement officers. This applies to an adult or a juvenile who drives any motor vehicle on a public road who takes off from police or attempts to lose them during a pursuit. The requirement to stop for a police officer is triggered when the person knows that a police officer has given a signal to stop. This can be a verbal signal, the flashing of police lights and so on. Eluding law enforcement officers is at least a third-degree felony, but escalates to a second-degree felony if a risk of death or injury is created to any person during the offense. This risk applies to both bystanders and the pursing officers.
In addition to the criminal penalties for eluding law enforcement officers, a court must suspend the driver’s license for between 6 months and two years. Juveniles often pick up eluding charges while riding dirtbikes, quads, and ATVs on public roads to and from trails. While this may seem innocent enough, police departments and prosecutors often take a very hard line in eluding cases because of the risk of harm to the pursuing officers and the public. Even in cases where the juvenile or adult gets away from police, prosecution is still easy since there is a presumption that the person who owns the vehicle was driving it on the date in question.
If your child has been charged with either resisting arrest or eluding law enforcement officers, give my office a call today so we can begin defending your child against these serious charges.