Encounters with law enforcement officers can be frightening whether or not you have done something wrong. We constantly hear stories about wrongful arrests or police brutality that can make us more afraid of officers than trusting of them to help us. In addition, if you have committed a crime, you may believe in the moment that you can avoid facing any consequences if you try to avoid an imminent police encounter. However, trying to get away from an officer who is trying to stop you can result in additional serious criminal charges.
Under New Jersey law, police evasion is referred to as “eluding an officer” and the penalties can vary depending on the circumstances of the alleged evasion. In addition to these charges, you could be facing more criminal or motor vehicle charges that relate to the underlying reason for the police stop. You should not delay in consulting with an attorney who has the experience and ability to handle not only the eluding charges but also any other charges you may face. Please do not hesitate to call the Law Office of Ronald J. Brandmayr, Jr. in Freehold, NJ for help today.
Evading the Police
There are different ways of evading police that are specifically against the law in New Jersey, including resisting arrest, running away on foot, or fleeing an officer in a motor vehicle. Resisting arrest can be charged anytime the prosecutor believes that you tried or succeeded in preventing an officer from making an arrest and does not have to involve you physically fleeing the scene of the stop. Under many circumstances, resisting arrest is a disorderly person offense, however, it can be escalated to a crime of the 3rd degree if you allegedly threatened violence against the police officer, used violence or force against the officer, or if your actions created a substantial risk to the safety of the officer or another person. This degree of charge comes with a potential sentence of three to five years’ imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $15,000.
If you elude the officer by fleeing on foot, you can be charged with a crime of the 4th degree, which means you face a possible 18 months behind bars and a fine of $10,000. This charge can also be escalated to a crime of the 3rd degree if you used force or put the officer or others in danger.
The crime of evading the police becomes even more severe if you allegedly tried to escape the police in a motor vehicle, including a car or a boat. We have all seen videos of high-speed police chases down the highway that put the lives of any other motorists at risk and often end in a dangerous collision. Because of the increased danger of police evasion in a vehicle, NJ laws treat this type of evading the most seriously. If an officer signals you to stop and accuses you of attempting to elude them, you can face charges of a crime in the 3rd degree, even if no accident occurred. Furthermore, if the prosecutor believes that you created a risk of injury or death to another person during your evasion, they can increase the charges to a crime in the 2nd degree, which can result in up to a $150,000 fine and five to ten years’ imprisonment. Because the nature of a car chase almost inevitably puts others in danger, the escalated charge is quite common. A conviction will also result in the suspension of your driver’s license.
Defense for Evading the Police in NJ
Defending against police evasion allegations can be challenging. In New Jersey, you can be convicted of resisting or eluding even if the attempted arrest or traffic stop was unlawful. However, this does not mean that you have no chance of defending yourself and should simply plead guilty and accept the consequences. Instead, you should seek representation from an experienced attorney who can identify whether your rights were violated in another way and whether any legal defenses apply in your case, and who can negotiate with prosecutors to lessen or dismiss the charges and penalties you face.
Call for a Consultation with a New Jersey Police Evasion Lawyer Today
NJ criminal defense attorney Ronald Brandmayr has defended many individuals in and around Freehold against a wide variety of crimes. Any criminal charge is a serious matter and should be handled by a skilled and experienced attorney. Please call our office at 732-409-5195 for help today.