Resisting Arrest

“In New Jersey, resisting arrest can be classified as an indictable criminal offense; this means that it’s a serious enough offense to be handled in superior court. These cases need to be handled carefully in order to secure the best possible outcome.”

Resisting arrest typically occurs when a person fails to quietly go along with a police officer who is trying to make an arrest. Although a charge of resisting arrest can arise from a simple misunderstanding, the penalties can be quite severe: if you are charged with resisting arrest, you could be subject to punishment of five (5) years in prison, in addition to other penalties discussed below.

Statistically, hiring an attorney might be the only way to drastically reduce your punishments and potentially get your case dismissed entirely. The Tormey Law Firm is comprised of aggressive criminal defense attorneys, including an active NJ prosecutor, who are committed to providing you with the best possible defense. We’ve handled thousands of criminal cases, including resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and assault.

Additionally, we have a series of advanced defense strategies that can be found in our video series on “How to Beat Disorderly Conduct Charges.” Many of the same arguments can be made to target the weaknesses in a resisting arrest case. If you have been charged with resisting arrest, call us today for a free consultation, and read on to learn more about resisting arrest charges in New Jersey.

Resisting arrest is a criminal offense in New Jersey and is governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2, which states that a person cannot prevent a police officer from making an arrest. This is true even when the person believes that he or she is being subjected to a wrongful arrest. Even if the police officer was totally out of line, YOU are the one who is going to be facing jail time.

Resisting arrest is usually classified as a disorderly persons offense, which can lead to six (6) months in jail and a fine of $1,000.00. The offense can be elevated to an indictable fourth degree crime if the person flees the scene and create a risk of injury to the police officer, in which case the punishment could be 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000.00. Resisting arrest can be classified as a third degree crime if you threaten to use force against the police officer, in which case a conviction can lead to a prison sentence of five (5) years and a fine of $15,000.00.

In all instances, a conviction can carry a heavy stigma and tarnish your permanent record. There is just no easy way to explain a resisting arrest conviction when it comes up during a job interview. Worst of all, you’ll probably end up having to explain why you were being arrested in the first place – making it seem like you’re some kind of career criminal. And you didn’t even do anything wrong!

Depending on the circumstances, the standard of proof for the prosecution in a resisting arrest case can be high. For instance, if the arresting officer failed to make perfectly clear to you at the time that he or she intended to arrest you, the charge might be invalid. Additionally, if there was any improper police conduct at the time of arrest, the charges could be downgraded or dismissed.

But unless you’re familiar with courtroom procedure in New Jersey, these defenses are best left to a professional.

Call the New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at the Tormey Law Firm for a free consultation about your resisting arrest charge.

We have years of experience successfully defending clients facing resisting arrest charges, so we know exactly how to help you avoid resisting arrest penalties. With a current NJ prosecutor on staff, we also know what arguments the other side will make and what strategies you need to win in the courtroom.

Call us today for a free case evaluation so that we can begin to examine the details of your arrest and formulate the most effective strategy for your defense.

(201) 556-1571

N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2 – Resisting Arrest Statute


(1) Except as provided in paragraph (3), a person is guilty of a disorderly persons offense if he purposely prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3), a person is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if he, by flight, purposely prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest.

(3) An offense under paragraph (1) or (2) of subsection a. is a crime of the third degree if the person:

(a) Uses or threatens to use physical force or violence against the law enforcement officer or another; or

(b) Uses any other means to create a substantial risk of causing physical injury to the public servant or another.

It is not a defense to a prosecution under this subsection that the law enforcement officer was acting unlawfully in making the arrest, provided he was acting under color of his official authority and provided the law enforcement officer announces his intention to arrest prior to the resistance.

b. Any person, while operating a motor vehicle on any street or highway in this State or any vessel, as defined pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1995, c.401 (C.12:7-71), on the waters of this State, who knowingly flees or attempts to elude any police or law enforcement officer after having received any signal from such officer to bring the vehicle or vessel to a full stop commits a crime of the third degree; except that, a person is guilty of a crime of the second degree if the flight or attempt to elude creates a risk of death or injury to any person. For purposes of this subsection, there shall be a permissive inference that the flight or attempt to elude creates a risk of death or injury to any person if the person’s conduct involves a violation of chapter 4 of Title 39 or chapter 7 of Title 12 of the Revised Statutes. In addition to the penalty prescribed under this subsection or any other section of law, the court shall order the suspension of that person’s driver’s license, or privilege to operate a vessel, whichever is appropriate, for a period of not less than six months or more than two years.

In the case of a person who is at the time of the imposition of sentence less than 17 years of age, the period of the suspension of driving privileges authorized herein, including a suspension of the privilege of operating a motorized bicycle, shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed and shall run for a period as fixed by the court. If the driving or vessel operating privilege of any person is under revocation, suspension, or postponement for a violation of any provision of this Title or Title 39 or the Revised Statutes at the time of any conviction or adjudication of delinquency for a violence of any offense defined in this chapter or chapter 36 of this Title, the revocation, suspension, or postponement period imposed herein shall commence as of the date of termination of the existing revocation, suspension, or postponement.

Upon conviction the court shall collect forthwith the New Jersey driver’s licenses of the person and forward such license or licenses to the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles along with a report indicating the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to this section. If the court is for any reason unable to collect the license or licenses of the person, the court shall cause a report of the conviction or adjudication of delinquency to be filed with the director. That report shall include the complete name, address, date of birth, eye color, and sex of the person and shall indicate the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to this section. The court shall inform the person orally and in writing that if the person is convicted of personally operating a motor vehicle or a vessel, whichever is appropriate, during the period of license suspension or postponement imposed pursuant to this section the person shall, upon conviction, be subject to the penalties set forth in R.S.39:3-40 or section 14 of P.L.1995, c.401 (C.12:7-83), whichever is appropriate. A person shall be required to acknowledge receipt of the written notice in writing. Failure to receive a written notice or failure to acknowledge in writing the receipt of a written notice shall not be a defense to a subsequent charge of violation of R.S.39:3-40 or section 14 of P.L.1995, c.401 (C.12:7-83), whichever is appropriate. If the person is the holder of a driver’s or vessel operator’s license from another jurisdiction, the court shall not collect the license but shall notify the director who shall notify the appropriate officials in the licensing jurisdiction. The court shall, however, in accordance with the provisions of this section, revoke the person’s non-resident driving or vessel operating privileges, whichever is appropriate, in this State.

For the purposes of this subsection, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that the owner of a vehicle or vessel was the operator of the vehicle or vessel at the time of the offense.


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With unmatched knowledge and experience in the practice of law, the seasoned attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are committed to serving their clients and tenaciously confronting the allegations against them.

We will examine every facet of your case in order to defend your constitutional rights and reputation. With a dedicated legal advocate to assist you, our attorneys will ensure that you are never forced to navigate the complex legal process on your own.

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Learn More About How to Fight Your Charges

If you've been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.

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