Resisting an Officer with Violence: Is It a Felony in New Jersey?

March 15, 2024

Resisting an Officer with Violence: Is It a Felony in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the charge of “resisting an officer with violence” carries serious legal implications and can often lead to confusion among those accused. This article will clarify whether this action is considered a felony, detail the potential penalties, and explain how skilled criminal defense attorneys, such as those at The Law Office of John B. Brennan, can provide essential guidance and representation.

Understanding the Charge

What Constitutes Resisting an Officer with Violence?

Resisting arrest in New Jersey typically involves any physical or aggressive opposition to an officer’s attempt to lawfully arrest an individual. This can be classified into different categories depending on the level of resistance and whether violence or a threat is involved. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for navigating the charges and preparing for the legal battle ahead.

Legal Classifications of Resisting Arrest

Under New Jersey statute (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2), resisting arrest is categorized as follows:

  • Simple Resisting Arrest: Involves physically resisting or obstructing law enforcement efforts to perform a lawful arrest, usually without any threats or violent actions. It is classified as a disorderly persons offense.
  • Resisting Arrest with Flight: This occurs when an individual attempts to evade being arrested by fleeing from a police officer. It is also categorized as a disorderly persons offense.
  • Resisting Arrest with Violence or Threats: This is the most severe form, involving physical force or violence against a police officer during an arrest, or threatening to use such force.

Is Resisting Arrest with Violence an Indictable Offense in NJ?

Understanding Indictable Offenses

In New Jersey, serious crimes requiring a formal indictment by a grand jury are known as indictable offenses—equivalent to felonies in other states. Resisting arrest with violence is classified under this category as a third-degree crime.

Legal Implications of a Third-Degree Charge

Being convicted of a third-degree offense for resisting an officer with violence carries significant penalties, including:

  • Incarceration: Possible imprisonment of 3 to 5 years in a state facility.
  • Fines: Potential fines up to $15,000.
  • Permanent Record: A conviction leads to a permanent criminal record, potentially hindering future employment opportunities, affecting professional licensing, and impacting personal and social relationships.

Defense Strategies

How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help?

A skilled criminal defense attorney can provide essential assistance in several ways:

  • Evaluating the Evidence: Attorneys assess how evidence against you was collected and whether your rights were violated during the arrest.
  • Negotiating with Prosecutors: Negotiations may reduce the charges or penalties.
  • Developing a Defense Strategy: Depending on the circumstances, defenses might include demonstrating that the resistance was not violent, the arrest was unlawful, or the actions were in self-defense.
  • Trial Representation: If your case goes to trial, having skilled representation in court is crucial for a successful defense.

Additional Legal Considerations and Support

The Importance of Immediate Legal Representation

The moments following an arrest can be pivotal. Immediate legal representation can mean the difference between a reduced plea or a harsh sentence. An attorney can intervene from the outset, ensuring that the accused’s rights are protected throughout the police questioning and court proceedings. Early intervention can also facilitate a more thorough investigation, potentially uncovering evidence that supports the defense.

Collaborating with a Defense Attorney

Collaborating closely with your defense attorney can provide strategic advantages. Your attorney can help you understand the nuances of your charges, prepare you for potential court appearances, and guide you through the complexities of the legal system. Effective communication with your lawyer is key to crafting a defense that aligns with the specific details of your case.

Contact The Law Office of John B. Brennan Today For a Free Consultation About Your Criminal Defense

Facing criminal charges can be daunting, and understanding your legal rights is crucial. At The Law Office of John B. Brennan, we bring decades of experience in defending clients throughout New Jersey. Our firm is dedicated to providing you with a robust defense, tailored strategies, and compassionate support to navigate through this challenging time.

Don’t let a criminal charge define your future. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let’s discuss how we can protect your rights and work towards the best possible outcome for your case. Our dedicated team is committed to defending your rights and achieving the best possible outcome in your case.