Resisting Arrest Charge

If you've been charged with resisting arrest in New Jersey, our criminal defense lawyers can help. We have the experience, knowledge, and dedication to get your charges reduced, dismissed, or dropped.

New Jersey resisting arrest attorney

If you are charged with resisting arrest in New Jersey, you need to speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. That is the best way to address how to get resisting arrest charge dropped in NJ.

By working with an attorney with experience, you can work toward mitigating the damage an arrest may cause, and limit the disruption to your life.

Resisting arrest is a serious charge that can result in significant penalties for you, including prison or jail time. It can also affect what you are able to do in the future. As a disorderly persons offense, it can stop you from working in certain careers.

If you have criminal charges for resisting arrest when a police officer tried to detain you, it is crucial to have an aggressive and knowledgeable resisting arrest lawyer on your side.

At the law offices of Breslow Law, we understand the importance of protecting your freedom, and we will fight for your best interests. Our decades of experience can make it easier to understand your charges.

Our law firm will help you understand those charges, and our criminal lawyers will work tirelessly, so you can achieve the best possible outcome.

We will fight for a dismissal or reduction of your resisting arrest charges. If you have been charged with resisting arrest in Ocean County, Passaic County, Newark, or other areas throughout New Jersey, we can help.

When life happens, experience matters.

We are dedicated to helping you, and we have the experience, knowledge, and dedication to get your charges reduced, dismissed, or dropped.

Call us at Breslow Law today, at 973-239-8000, or contact us online for a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney.

What is considered resisting arrest in New Jersey?

Under New Jersey law, resisting arrest is defined as the act of intentionally preventing a public servant from executing any of their official functions, including lawful arrests.

There are three key elements the State must prove in order to charge someone with resisting arrest. According to the New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice[1], these are:

  • The person arrested committed an act that was unlawful, or anything that involved intimidation, flight, violence, physical interference, or physical force when they were being arrested.
  • The person‘s actions were done with the intent to impair, obstruct, pervert, or prevent an arrest, a law administration, or another lawful government function, such as issuing or enforcing a restraining order.
  • The person‘s actions did, in fact, impair, pervert, prevent, or obstruct the administration of a law, a lawful government function, or an arrest.

In other words, if a person tried to run from the police after an act such as shoplifting, or otherwise stop the arrest or other legal function while they were being arrested, they may be charged with resisting arrest.

Not complying with a law enforcement officer who is trying to detain a person is typically the reason for this charge.

However, whether a person was actually resisting is often up for debate, and there are possible defenses to this criminal charge.

Is resisting arrest a felony or misdemeanor in NJ?

In New Jersey, the terms “felony” and “misdemeanor” are not used. Instead, the term “crimes” is used for what would be considered felony offenses in other states, and “disorderly persons offenses” is used in the same way another state would call something a misdemeanor.

Peaceful or minor cases where someone is resisting arrest are typically disorderly persons offenses.

For those who flee or otherwise leave the scene of their arrest, charges can be elevated to a fourth degree crime. That is equivalent to the lowest level of felony in other states.

While this is a serious offense, there are ways in which the case can escalate to a higher level of crime that would be equivalent to a more serious felony.

For example, failing to stop when an officer attempts to pull you over in a motor vehicle may be considered a criminal offense of the third degree.

Resisting arrest in a way that puts the officer at risk of death or serious harm may be a second degree offense.

That level of crime often comes with the potential for prison time, because of the chances that an officer or an innocent bystander could have been seriously injured or killed during the offense.

Penalties & fines for 2C:29-2. Resisting Arrest; Eluding Officer

There are several penalties for resisting arrest, depending on the severity of the crime. These penalties are incarceration, fines, and probation.

It's possible to have more than one penalty, such as fines and probation, especially for a third-degree crime or higher. Many people enter a pre-trial intervention (PTI) program in order to avoid more significant penalties.


Typically, incarceration only occurs in cases where there was a risk of significant bodily harm or death to the law enforcement officer or other official.

These cases can carry prison time of up to five years. However, even peacefully resisting arrest can come with up to six months of jail time.

For those cases where someone chose to flee from their arrest without any violence, the sentence can be up to 18 months in jail.


Fines of up to $1,000 are possible for arrests based on peaceful resistance or disorderly conduct, and can be higher for resistance cases where fleeing or assault charges are involved.

A reduction in fines is possible with a reduction in charges.

By working with a criminal defense attorney you can work toward reducing or eliminating any fines for resisting arrest.


Probation occurs in some resisting arrest cases. For peaceful resistance, first-time offenses, and cases where higher charges are reduced, probation may be the only penalty.

A defense attorney may work to have higher-level charges lowered if they cannot be dismissed, in an effort to reduce penalties from jail time to probation.

Drivers license suspension is common for anyone who was operating a motor vehicle and failed to stop as requested by a law enforcement officer[2].

If convicted, the municipal court will collect the person’s driver’s license and send it to the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles.

It will be accompanied by a report detailing the length of the suspension and other information.

In cases of DUI or DWI, especially if the arrest is not part of a first offense, the person’s driver’s license may be suspended for a longer period of time, or revoked entirely.

How to get a resisting arrest charge dropped in NJ?

Hiring a criminal defense lawyer is the best option to help you with an indictable offense.

A skilled New Jersey resisting arrest attorney can work toward expungement of your criminal record, or getting your charges reduced or dropped.

There are several ways an attorney can help, including:

  • Reviewing your case and helping you choose the best legal options. Before speaking to anyone in law enforcement about your case or your charges, make sure you retain a defense attorney. They can help you with the specifics of your case, and suggest legal opportunities for a reduction or elimination of charges.
  • Creating and guiding a legal strategy to clear your name. A skillful presentation of testimony and evidence can be used to support your case. Proper support for your case is one of the ways to reduce the level of punishment you may face.
  • Reviewing evidence against you to prepare a proper case. If the prosecution has evidence that may harm your case, it is important for your attorney to properly review it. Witness statements, police reports, body camera footage, and evidence recovered from the scene can all affect the results in your resisting arrest case.
  • Protecting your rights. Your defense lawyer can help ensure that all laws related to your case are followed fairly and justly. That will help protect you from unfair treatment, and reduce any chances of you being charged with crimes you did not commit.

Common defenses to a resisting arrest charge are unlawful arrest and self-defense. Both of these defenses can be valid, depending on your specific circumstances.

Unlawful arrest

When your attorney uses an unlawful arrest defense, they will make the case that the police officer who arrested you did not clearly identify themselves as an officer of the law.

Another way that an arrest can be unlawful is if it was without probably cause or a warrant.

Resisting unlawful arrest is common, and if you were not informed of your rights or not arrested fairly and justly within the confines of the law, you may have an unlawful arrest defense.


While a law enforcement officer is allowed to use reasonable force to complete an arrest, they must not use force that is excessive or unnecessary.

If that occurred in your case, and you resisted to protect yourself from harm, you may have a self-defense case.

Fighting back can only occur to the point of defending yourself, and cannot go further in an attempt to harm the officer.

A criminal defense attorney can help you with either one of these defense strategies. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may have a defense in one or both of these areas.

Working with your attorney is the best way to get the information you need on the proper method of defense, based on all the facts surrounding your resisting arrest charge.

Get your resisting arrest charges dropped, reduced, or dismissed. Speak with a New Jersey resisting arrest attorney today.

Resisting arrest can be a serious crime, but there are defenses you can bring to the table with the help of a criminal defense attorney.

If you have a charge of resisting arrest in New Jersey, the criminal defense lawyers at Breslow Law can help.

Whether your charges are in Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Union County, Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, or elsewhere in the state we offer a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney.

With more than 45 years of experience on both sides of criminal law, our New Jersey resisting arrest lawyers are often called upon by the State to represent defendants in cases that others simply are not prepared to handle.

Do not leave the defense in your resisting arrest case to chance.

We have the experience, knowledge, and dedication to get your charges reduced, dismissed, or dropped.

Remember, when life happens, experience matters.

Call us at 973-239-8000 today or contact us online for a free case evaluation.


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