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New Jersey Defense Lawyer for Resisting Arrest

Reputable Defense Lawyer Fights Resisting Arrest Charges in Middlesex County, Mercer County, Union County, Ocean County, and Burlington County, NJ

The prospect of being arrested is frightening for anyone.  It is understandable that you might panic when confronted by the police.  However, resisting arrest is itself a crime under New Jersey law.  Even if you know that you are innocent, you can be charged with a disorderly persons offense—or, in some cases, a felony-level offense—for resisting arrest.

The consequences of resisting arrest can be even more serious than the underlying cause of the arrest.  If you have been charged with resisting arrest, the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC can help.  I have a reputation with the judges and prosecutors for presenting a smart, solid criminal defense.  I use my familiarity with the local court system to my clients’ advantage.

If the police can interpret your actions as in any way hindering their arrest efforts, you may face resisting arrest charges. You have seen the news and know how even something fairly minor can be spun into a serious criminal situation.  You need the best possible lawyer by your side to protect your legal rights and build your story into a workable defense.

Facing criminal charges is always difficult.  I believe in treating all clients with compassion and respect.  You can expect open and honest communication both at the beginning of your case and throughout the legal process.  To learn more about options in your case, contact my office for a free initial consultation with an experienced resisting arrest defense lawyer today.

Resisting Arrest: NJSA 2C:29-2

Both resisting arrest and eluding arrest are criminal offenses under NJSA 2C:29-2.  Resisting arrest is a disorderly persons offense (a misdemeanor) if the prosecution proves that you purposefully prevented, or attempted to prevent, the police from making an arrest.  Resisting arrest can be elevated to the felony level as follows:

  • Resisting arrest is a fourth-degree offense if you run from the police and purposefully prevent, or attempt to prevent, the arrest
  • Resisting arrest is a third-degree offense if you use force or violence against the police or someone else, or if, using any other means, you create a substantial risk of physical violence to anyone else
  • Eluding arrest is a third-degree offense under NJSA 2C:29-2(b).  Third-degree charges apply if you knowingly flee, or attempt to flee, the police in any type of vehicle after the police signal for you to stop
  • Eluding arrest is elevated to a second-degree offense if, when using the vehicle to flee, you create a risk of substantial injury or death. In practice, this is the offense usually charged since the very nature of eluding usually implicates the risk of injury to others. 

In reality, the police can interpret any type of resistance as resisting arrest.  Attempts to explain the situation or claim innocence during the arrest process typically only inflame the situation further.  In fact, your underlying innocence is not even typically a defense to a resisting arrest charge.  It is also not a defense that the police acted unlawfully in arresting you—so long as the police announced their intent to arrest and were acting under their official authority.

Defenses to NJSA 2C:29-2 Resisting Arrest Charges

Although your innocence to an underlying offense is not usually a defense to resisting arrest charges, any experienced criminal defense lawyer can build a strong defense to these serious charges.  To convict on resisting arrest charges, the prosecution must be able to prove that you acted purposefully and were attempting to hinder police efforts to arrest.  Casting doubt on your intent can often help your case.

Potential defenses to resisting arrest may include:

  • You did not know that the person was a law enforcement officer (in other words, you did not know the person was acting under the color of official police authority)
  • The officer acted outside the scope of his or her police duties
  • The police officer used unlawful and unjustified force in making the arrest
  • You feared for your own safety

Pre-trial intervention (PTI) may also be available if you have been charged with resisting arrest.  For first offenders, successfully completing PTI can let you bypass prosecution and conviction.  Admission to PTI, while an alternative to prosecution, requires that you admit guilt.  If you fail to complete the program, you will face the original resisting arrest charges.  Another option worth pursuing in resisting arrest cases is having a case remanded down to municipal court. 

At the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC, I am committed to helping my clients fully understand all offers on the table.  I build a custom defense strategy for each client because each case is unique.  Your ability to make an informed decision is a key component of your legal right to a solid legal defense.

Contact a Woodbridge, NJ Resisting Arrest Defense Lawyer Today

For the best chances of a successful outcome, you need a defense lawyer who is both knowledgeable and trustworthy to argue your case. A strong knowledge of the law is the baseline—but you also have to trust your lawyer enough to share the whole story.  I am here to sit down with you and listen to your story so that we can discuss options for your defense.

Call the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced resisting arrest defense lawyer in New Jersey today.  You can also fill out my online contact form and I will respond promptly.

Frequently Asked Questions About Resisting Arrest Charges

FAQ: Will I go to jail for resisting arrest if I had no prior criminal record?

It depends upon the charges against you. The prosecution may combine the resisting arrest charges with additional related charges, such as those related to the reason for the arrest, which could lead to jail time. If fourth-degree resisting arrest charges apply (meaning that you ran from police), a presumption of non-incarceration is generally available for first offenders. That presumption does not apply if you are facing second-degree charges.

The judge also has leeway to impose jail time depending upon the circumstances. Regardless of the charges you are facing, you need an experienced defense lawyer to minimize the risk of jail time.

FAQ: Can my minor child be convicted of resisting arrest as a juvenile?

Yes. Courts have the authority to find minors guilty of resisting arrest. As a juvenile, your child could face probation, detention in a juvenile facility, and a juvenile record. I also handle juvenile cases in family court, where judges have significant leeway to impose rehabilitative measures in lieu of formal punishment. Call my office today if your child was arrested for resisting arrest as a minor.

Rating Methodology

Charges Dismissed

Criminal Offense

Charges Reversed

Jail Sentence

Charges Reduced


Charges Dismissed

Criminal Offense

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    “Mr. Vecchio was very thorough and efficient. His team was accommodating and the ultimate outcome was better than expected. Mr. Vecchio kept me up to date with every detail via emails and text messages. An all around good guy and family man.”
    “I have been working with Anthony on my husband’s out of state case for a few days now. He is punctual and doesn’t make you feel like you are asking too many questions in such a stressful time. He knows exactly what is happening before you even tell him. He is very professional and treats you like a human at the same time with the most respect.”
    "Anthony was instrumental in making the worst time in my life manageable. He's smart, intuitive and most of all he gave me peace of mind. I would recommend him to anyone looking for a sharp, progressive attorney who knows how to navigate the law."

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