Resisting Arrest NJSA 2C:29-2

Resisting arrest or eluding an officer is a criminal offense penalized under the authority of NJSA 2C:29-2. Depending on the alleged facts, the charge can range from a disorderly persons offense up to a second degree crime.  The Law Offices of Todd Palumbo defends those arrested and charged with resisting arrest in violation of NJSA 2c:29-2. Our Firm appears in all municipal and superior courts throughout New Jersey, inlcuding Essex and Hudson Counties. Please take a moment to review the information that follows. If you require the assistance of an attorney, please call my office. I am available 24/7 for free consultations.

A person is guilty of the disorderly persons offense of resisting arrest if he purposely evades or prevents, or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from effecting an arrest. A disorderly persons offense is punishable by up to 6 months in the county jail

The crime is elevated to a fourth degree offense if the person does so by flight, i.e. running away from law enforcement. A 4th degree crime is punishable by up to 18 months in state prison

Resisting or Eluding is a third degree crime if the person threatens to use force or violence against law enforcement or another, or uses any other means to create a substantial risk of causing physical injury to the public servant or another. A third degree offense carries a maximum of 5 yrs in prison

If the resisting arrest or eluding an officer involves knowingly fleeing in a motor vehicle, after being ordered to come to a complete stop, then it is a crime of the third degree. If the in the course of the above, the accused creates the risk of injury to the officer involved or others, it may be charged as a 2nd degree offense. A second degree offense is punishable by up to 10 yrs in state prison.

If a motor vehicle is used in the commission of the offense, in addition to the above stated penalties, upon conviction, the defendant shall relinquish his driving privileges for a period of suspension of not less than 6 months and not more than 2 years.

In order to sustain a conviction under the resisting/eluding statute, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That the defendant’s conscious object to prevent his or her arrest.
  • That the defendant knew he was under arrest, or that the officer was acting under the color of law if it was not announced.
  • Depending on the type of eluding offense the defendant is charged with, the state will have to prove the following:
    • Third degree: physical force or violence
    • Prove that the defendant was ordered to come to a completed stop, 3rd degree motor vehicle resisting/eluding.
    • Risk of injury, second degree eluding. This can be proved by the totality of the circumstances. Also there is a permissive inference that such a risk exist when flight or attempt to elude is established.
    • knowingly, i.e the defendant knew he was supposed to stop, second degree eluding.

In addition to the above, there may be additional proofs required depending on the nature of the offense and the totality of the circumstances.

The gravamen of the statute is the mens rea or mental component, that the accused acted with purpose or knowingly. In my exeperience as a NJ criminal defense attorney, the mind set of the defendant in eluding cases is difficult to prove. Because the intent element of the offense is so murky, counsel is frequently able to develop winning defense strategies that expose this gray area.

There are many other technical defenses that can be asserted. Some of these defenses may be statutory in nature. To determine your specific defense to an eluding charge,  you should  speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who regularly defends those charged with resisting arrest. A free consultation is a phone call away.


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