Resisting Arrest Charges

Point Pleasant Beach Resisting Arrest Charges

Did you have a frightening run-in with the law in Point Pleasant Beach and make a split-second decision to run away? Or did you struggle against an arrest because you thought it was unlawful? There are many different reasons why a person might resist an arrest or try to elude the police when being pulled over, but if you've been charged with resisting arrest, eluding an officer, hindering apprehension or prosecution, or obstruction, one thing is certain: you need a Point Pleasant Beach Resisting Arrest Attorney.

I am Anthony N. Palumbo, a Criminal Defense Lawyer and partner at Palumbo & Renaud. I have been practicing criminal and municipal law in New Jersey for over 35 years, and as a former prosecutor, I know the defenses you need to win your case. Don't plead guilty without knowing your rights. Contact me today through the email form on my website or call toll free at 1-866-664-8118 for a free initial consultation.

The following page provides an overview of the possible penalties for charges of resisting arrest, eluding an officer, hindering apprehension or prosecution, and obstructing a police officer in Point Pleasant Beach. Please remember that a Point Pleasant Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer is crucial to your defense, and this page is in no way a replacement for an attorney's consultation regarding the facts of your case.

The Basics: Obstruction of Justice Offenses

A person can commit several different offenses relating to the obstruction of justice:

  • A person commits the offense of resisting arrest if he purposely prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from arresting him.
  • A person commits the offense of eluding an officer if, while operating a motor vehicle, he flees or attempts to elude a law enforcement officer after having been signaled to pull over.
  • The offense of hindering apprehension or prosecution is committed when a person either: (1) harbors or conceals another person who committed a crime, or otherwise helps him to evade apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment; or (2) if he hinders his own apprehension or prosecution.
  • A person commits the offense of obstructing administration of law if he purposely obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental functions or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function.

These offenses share a common purpose to interfere with the state's law enforcement and criminal adjudication functions, but they cover a broad range of actions and carry different criminal penalties. Each offense is discussed in more detail below.

Point Pleasant Beach Resisting Arrest

The seriousness of charges for resisting arrest and the possible penalties vary with the circumstances in each case:

  • If you purposely prevent or try to prevent the police from arresting you, then you will be charged with a disorderly persons offense, which carries a penalty of up to 6 months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
  • The charge is increased to a fourth degree offense if you purposely prevent or try to prevent the police from arresting you and you do it by running away or otherwise fleeing an officer. Conviction for fourth degree resisting arrest carries a punishment of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Resisting arrest can be upgraded to a third degree offense, subject to a possible jail term of 3 to 5 years, if at the same time you resisted arrest, you also:
  • used threats or physical force against the police; or
  • used threats or physical force against any other person; or
  • did anything at all that created a high risk of injuring someone.

Unfortunately, you can be charged with resisting arrest even if arrest was unlawful. As unfair as it may seem, there is never a right to resist the police, illegal arrest or not. If the arrest was in fact unlawful, then the charges will be dropped later, but if you resisted the arrest, you will be charged with a separate offense that cannot be avoided. As a result, when facing a possible illegal arrest, your best option is to comply with the police and challenge the arrest later in court.

Point Pleasant Beach Eluding an Officer

The offense of eluding an officer is similar to resisting arrest, but occurs when you fail to pull over or flee from the police in a car or other type of vehicle. In addition to imprisonment and fines, eluding an officer offenses often result in driver's license suspensions.

  • If you are driving any kind of a vehicle and the police give you any kind of signal to pull over, and you flee or otherwise try to get away from the police, then you could be charged with a third degree offense, which carry penalties of 3 to 5 years in prison and suspension of your driver's license for 6 months to 2 years.
  • The offense can be upgraded to a second degree crime if, while eluding an officer, you create a risk of death or injury to anyone at all, including yourself. A conviction for eluding an officer in the second degree would carry a possible punishment of 5 to 10 years in prison, along with suspension of your driver's license for 6 months to 2 years.
  • If you are under 17 years old when you elude an officer, the license suspension period is determined by the court.
  • And if your license was already suspended or revoked, the new suspension term begins when the previous suspension ends.

As with resisting arrest, you can be charged with eluding an officer even if the police officer had no reason to stop your vehicle. As a result, you should always pull over at the first available safe location when signaled by an officer. You can read more about DUI/DWI Traffic Stops, and find out What To Do When a Police Officer Pulls You Over.

Point Pleasant Beach Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution

The New Jersey hindering law is divided into two parts: the first part explains how a person can be guilty of hindering the apprehension or prosecution of another person, and the second part explains how a person can be guilty of hindering themselves.

Hindering another person

  • Hindering the apprehension or prosecution of another person includes a variety of actions undertaken with the purpose of preventing the detention, apprehension, investigation, prosecution, conviction or punishment of another person for a violation of New Jersey law. Conduct that qualifies as hindering another person includes:
  • harboring or concealing the other person; or
  • providing or aiding in providing a weapon, money, transportation, disguise or other means of avoiding discovery or apprehension or effecting escape; or
  • suppressing, by way of concealment or destruction, any evidence of the crime, or tampering with a witness, informant, document or other source of information that might aid in the discovery or apprehension of such person or in the lodging of a charge against him; or
  • warning the other person of impending discovery or apprehension, except for warnings given in connection with an effort to bring the other person into compliance with law; or
  • preventing or obstructing by means of force, intimidation or deception anyone from performing an act which might aid in the discovery or apprehension of such person or in the lodging of a charge against him; or
  • aiding such person to protect or expeditiously profit from an advantage derived from such crime; or
  • giving false information to a law enforcement officer or a civil State investigator assigned to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

Hindering yourself

  • When you have committed a crime, subsequent conduct that qualifies as hindering your own apprehension or prosecution includes:
  • suppressing, by way of concealment or destruction, any evidence of the crime or tampering with a document or other source of information that might aid in your discovery or apprehension or in the lodging of a charge against you; or
  • preventing or obstructing by means of force or intimidation anyone from performing an act which might aid in your discovery or apprehension or in the lodging of a charge against you; or
  • preventing or obstructing by means of force, intimidation or deception any witness or informant from providing testimony or information which might aid in your discovery or apprehension or in the lodging of a charge against you; or
  • giving false information to a law enforcement officer or a civil State investigator assigned to the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

Penalties for hindering offenses

  • Hindering is generally a disorderly persons offense, subject to a penalty of no more than 6 months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. But the hindering charge is increased along with the seriousness of the underlying crime, such that:
  • hindering in relation to a second degree crime or higher constitutes a third degree offense, punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison; and
  • hindering in relation to a third degree crime constitutes a fourth degree offense, subject to up to 18 months imprisonment.
  • A hindering offense is a second degree crime if it involves preventing or obstructing anyone, by means of force, intimidation or deception, from performing acts which could aid in the discovery of apprehension of the hindered person.
  • When one person is hindering another person and they are spouses or have a parent-child relationship, the offense is reduced to a fourth degree crime, with a penalty of up to 18 months in prison.

Point Pleasant Beach Obstructing the Administration of Law

Obstructing the Administration of Law-more commonly referred to as simply "obstruction"-often occurs along with resisting arrest, eluding an officer, and hindering offenses.

The obstruction law states that:

"A person commits an offense if he purposely obstructs, impairs or perverts the administration of law or other governmental function or prevents or attempts to prevent a public servant from lawfully performing an official function by means of flight, intimidation, force, violence, or physical interference or obstacle, or by means of any independently unlawful act. This section does not apply to failure to perform a legal duty other than an official duty, or any other means of avoiding compliance with law without affirmative interference with governmental functions."

Two important points should be noted about obstruction offenses:

  • In order for a person to be guilty of obstruction, that person must commit an affirmative act with the intent to obstruct the government. If an affirmative act cannot be proved, a conviction cannot be rightfully obtained.
  • Words alone are not enough to constitute obstruction. For example, you cannot be convicted of obstruction for merely failing to provide your complete personal information to an officer. However, when words are combined with physical threats, that is enough for an obstruction charge.

Obstruction is generally a disorderly persons offense, subject to a penalty of no more than 6 months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. However, an offense can be upgraded to a fourth degree crime, with a punishment of up to 18 months in prison, if the actor obstructs the detection or investigation of a crime or the prosecution of a person for a crime.

Having an attorney by your side

If you still have questions about Resisting, Obstructing, or Hindering an Officer in Point Pleasant Beach, the best thing for you to do is to seek a lawyer's advice. You can contact me Anthony N. Palumbo, Ocean County Criminal Defense Attorney through the email form on my website or at 1-866-664-8118 for a free initial consultation and I will be happy to discuss any questions you may have. Without an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side, you could be pleading guilty to charges that might otherwise be dismissed. Don't wait until it's too late-with a free initial consultation, you have nothing to lose.