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How can you be charged with resisting arrest?

Most of us are taught from an early age to trust police officers and to view them as the "good guys" who are helping to protect the community. While this is almost certainly the case with the overwhelming number of police officers throughout the nation, there are some who may take their job quite a bit more seriously than they probably should. When that happens, an arrest could be affected through excessive force. And, regardless of a police officer's disposition, resisting arrest is never a good idea, even if the arrestee believes they are innocent.

But, what exactly is resisting arrest? Well, according to New Jersey law, there are many different ways in which an arrestee could end up facing resisting arrest charges. At the most basic level, resisting arrest essentially means that a person is interfering with a police officer's ability to make a lawful arrest. This could be as simple as pulling away from an officer as he attempts to put handcuffs on, or otherwise struggling as the officer is attempting to make the arrest.

In the most serious situations, however, such as during the commission of violent crimes, a defendant could face resisting arrest charges when that person uses physical force to evade arrest, such as striking a police officer or even shooting at a police officer with a firearm. Even the threat of physical force could be enough.

The most important thing for our New Jersey readers to know about resisting arrest charges is that they are highly situation-specific. And, oftentimes, the charge will come down to the police officer's word against the defendant's word as to what exactly occurred.

Source:, "Resisting Arrest/Eluding - 2C:29-2," accessed on Jan. 24, 2015

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