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Resisting the Urge to Resist Arrest

Posted by Carmine R. Villani | Jun 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

Humans naturally don't want to be restrained. Our fight-or-flight survival mechanism (also known as fight, flight, freeze or fawn response) is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack or threat to survival. It can be a response that happens in the presence of something that is terrifying, either mentally or physically. This acute stress response is triggered by the release of hormones that prepare your body to either stay and deal with a threat or to run away (for example: resist arrest) to safety.

“In prehistoric times, a person might have found themselves in a situation where a quick choice has to be made. If the person had spent a lot of time thinking about it, they may have become dinner for a lion or other animal. The body's fight or flight response, it's theorized, took thinking out of the equation so we could react more quickly — and stay alive.” — Grohol, J. (2012). What's the Purpose of the Fight or Flight Response? Psych Central

Take Your Fight to Court Instead

Resisting the Urge to Resist Arrest

Why is all of this important? The urge to resist an arrest may come from our fight or flight reactions. This human instinct is built into us at the deepest level, but it's important to comply with authority. Maybe your arrest came after a late night, maybe you got frightened, or maybe you felt like you were being attacked. Regardless of why it happened, if you resist the arrest or elude an officer, you could be facing additional criminal charges and potential jail time.
If you are arrested by a police officer, it is a crime to try and break loose (fight) or run away (flight).You're much more likely to win your fight in court with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney than in the heat of the moment. When your case goes to court, an adequate defense is crucial to your success. If you or a loved one has been charged with resisting arrest, you can still win your case and receive a not guilty verdict.

The Law (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2)

In New Jersey, you can be convicted of resisting arrest even if you were innocent. Uncooperative behavior can lead to bigger charges, so it is important to submit to the arrest (even if the arrest is under false accusations) and deal with the legalities later. It is important to note that according to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2, Garden State law enforcement officials are required to clearly state their intention and identify him or herself as an officer prior to making the arrest.
A person is considered guilty of a resisting arrest charge if he or she uses means such as threats or physical force to prevent a law enforcement officer from completing the arrest. Resisting arrest is a disorderly persons or criminal offense, depending on whether any serious injury or death, or risk of serious injury or death occurred as a result of the offender's actions. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C: 29-2(a)(3), it could be elevated to an indictable crime and result in up to five years in prison. And remember, a person could be convicted of this offence even if the arrest was unlawful.

Call An Experienced NJ Criminal Defense Attorney

When facing a charge that you resisted arrest, our experienced legal team can hope to get your charges dismissed. Contact one of the Villani & DeLuca criminal defense attorneys at 732-709-7757 for a complimentary consultation about your resisting arrest charge. We represent clients throughout Ocean County and Monmouth County New Jersey.

About the Author

Carmine R. Villani

Founding partner, Carmine Villani, Esq. is a former municipal prosecutor with over three decades of experience in Criminal and DWI Defense.


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