Legal Options For New Jersey Juveniles Charged with Eluding an Officer
In New Jersey, eluding an officer or resisting arrest can be a serious crime. It's understandable for a youth to be afraid or react badly by running from a police officer, but the end result can be a serious legal problem with many facets and punishments. In some instances, the juvenile—under 18 years of age—may not have committed any crime in the first place until they chose to elude or resist arrest. That, however, doesn't reduce the seriousness of the crime.
There are several degrees of eluding an officer. A disorderly persons offense, commonly known as a misdemeanor in other jurisdictions, is the lowest possible charge when resisting arrest. The punishment can be a fine and up to six months in jail. A fourth degree crime involves avoiding arrest by fleeing from a police officer. A third degree offense includes fleeing and putting the officer's physical well-being in danger by threat or action. Whether or not the original intent on the part of the officer to arrest the juvenile was valid, the accused still doesn't have the right to resist or elude.
Variations of Eluding or Resisting Arrest
There are different types of eluding or resisting arrest. They include the following:
- Obstruction of justice: under New Jersey law, if a juvenile impedes an officer's attempt to arrest another person, the juvenile can be charged with a crime. It generally doesn't result in jail time, but it can still result in punishment such as community service or a fine.
- Eluding in a motor vehicle or a boat: if the operator of a car or boat has received a sign from a police officer to stop and the order is ignored, that youth can be charged with eluding in a motor vehicle or boat. In general, this is a third degree crime, but if someone is injured of killed as a result, it is a crime in the second degree. The mere act of fleeing in New Jersey will include driver's license suspension or boat operator's suspension for six months to two years.
Youths Charged with Resisting Arrest or Eluding an Officer
If a juvenile is charged with resisting arrest or eluding an officer and faces the possibility of incarceration, the first step a parent should take is finding a qualified attorney like the lawyers at Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. A juvenile and his parents must be aware of the arrested person's rights and an experienced attorney can help greatly in that area.
A delinquency hearing will be held and, if the juvenile is found guilty or delinquent, then punishment will be enforced. Depending on the severity of the crime there can be a number of punishments. If convicted of fourth degree eluding an officer, the youth can receive up to a year in jail or have to pay fines, perform community service or be placed on probation. New Jersey law states that a third degree conviction can lead to jail time of not longer than two years or community service for at least 60 days.
Second degree eluding an officer brings at least 60 days of incarceration but no longer than three years; the juvenile will not be eligible for parole during this time. If the youth was under 17 and eluded arrest by using a car or boat, the individual's license will be suspended for an amount of time to be determined by the court.
Contact an Experienced Attorney at Villani & DeLuca
Juveniles and their parents from Brick, Toms River, Belmar, Asbury Park or anywhere in New Jersey should contact the experienced attorneys at Villani & DeLuca located in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. Our attorneys have the knowledge and legal skills to assist parents and the juvenile who has been charged with eluding an officer or resisting arrest in all its various permutations.
Call Villani & DeLuca today for help.