Eluding Police Attorney in New Jersey - N.J.S. § 2C:29-2
Eluding a police officer in New Jersey is a serious criminal offense. It is a form of obstruction of justice, which is a type of crime that gets under the skin of police and prosecutors. So, you can expect a prosecutor to seek maximum punishment. If you or your loved one has been arrested, or if you believe that you might be under investigation for an alleged eluding an officer crime in New Jersey or any other traffic violation; you should quickly seek legal representation. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help you to fight the charge and seek the best possible outcome. When you work with the Law Office of Jason A. Volet, you will get more than 20 years and 2,000 cases worth of experience on your side. A former prosecutor, Jason knows the system from both sides, and he counsels his clients based on those insights and his experience. Call or contact us online for a free consultation.
- 1 What Is Considered an Eluding Police Offense?
- 2 What Is the Difference Between Eluding Police and Resisting Arrest?
- 3 What Proof Is Needed for an Eluding Conviction?
- 4 Are There Any Possible Defenses Against an Eluding Police Charge?
- 5 Penalties for Eluding or Fleeing the Police
- 6 Get Help from an Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
What Is Considered an Eluding Police Offense?
Under N.J.S. § 2C:29-2, a person commits the crime of eluding an officer if, while operating a motor vehicle on any street or highway, the person knowingly flees or attempts to elude a law enforcement officer after having received any signal to bring the person’s vehicle to a full stop. If you tried to evade arrest by fleeing on foot rather than in a car, then you would not be charged with this offense. Generally, you face the possibility of being punished for a crime of the third degree if you are charged with eluding a police officer. However, if a prosecutor alleges that you created a risk of injury or death to another person in the commission of the offense, it will be elevated to a crime of the second degree. The distinction is important. A conviction for a second-degree crime does not carry a presumption of incarceration. A conviction for a third-degree crime does.
What Is the Difference Between Eluding Police and Resisting Arrest?
Under, N.J.S. § 2C:29-2, a person commits the offense of resisting arrest when the person purposely prevents or attempts to prevent a police officer from arresting them. For instance, a person may try to wriggle out of a pair of handcuffs. If a person allegedly flees and purposely prevents or attempts to prevent a police officer from making the arrest, it is a crime of the fourth degree. Unlike an eluding offense, you can be charged with this crime if you are on foot. A resisting offense becomes a crime of the third degree if the person:
- Uses or threatens to use physical force or violence against the law enforcement officer or another person; or
- Uses any other means to create a substantial risk of causing physical injury to the public servant or anyone else.
The bottom line is that an eluding charge typically results when an alleged offender uses a motor vehicle to avoid arrest. Resisting arrest charges often result from actions outside of a vehicle – even though an automobile may be involved.
What Proof Is Needed for an Eluding Conviction?
To convict you of an eluding offense under N.J.S. § 2C:29-2, the prosecutor must provide proof beyond a reasonable doubt that you “knowingly” fled or attempted to elude a police officer. To prove that someone acted knowingly, the prosecutor typically will try to put on evidence from which a person’s knowledge can be inferred. For instance, the prosecution may have a police officer testify that he or she clearly indicated that a person should have stopped by using blue lights or a siren and, yet, the person kept driving or led the police on a high-speed chase.
Are There Any Possible Defenses Against an Eluding Police Charge?
One of the most common defenses against a New Jersey eluding charge is that an alleged offender simply did not see a police officer’s signal to stop. This defense is especially strong in cases where police officers attempt to stop alleged offenders in unmarked vehicles. In some cases, an alleged offender may be able to argue that they were not operating the vehicle. Other times, the person who was ultimately arrested for an eluding crime may have been improperly identified, and the person can use that to challenge the prosecution’s case. Having a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side is critical. The lawyer can perform an independent investigation of your arrest and determine all possible defenses. In cases of unusual circumstances, unique defense options may be available. So, you will want to consider every possible avenue.
Penalties for Eluding or Fleeing the Police
The possible consequences of convictions for resisting arrest or eluding a police officer will depend on how the alleged offense has been graded. Depending on the classification, a conviction could be punishable as follows:
- Second-Degree Offense — Five to 10 years in prison and/or fine of $150,000
- Third-Degree Offense — Three to five years in prison and/or fine of $15,000
- Fourth-Degree Offense — Up to 18 months in prison and/or fine of $10,000
- Disorderly Persons Offense — Up to six months in prison and/or fine of $1,000
If convicted, a person can also have his or her driver’s license suspended for a minimum of six months and a maximum of up to two years.
Get Help from an Experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Were you or your loved one arrested, or do you believe that you could be under investigation for eluding a police officer in New Jersey? You will want to be sure that you retain legal counsel as soon as possible. You will have a lawyer certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a criminal trial attorney when you work with the Law Office of Jason A. Volet. We can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call or reach us online to take advantage of a free consultation. We have offices in Freehold and Neptune, and we serve clients throughout New Jersey.