New Jersey Juvenile Eluding an Officer Charge
It may have been a gut reaction or a foolish decision in state of panic, but either way, attempting to elude a police officer is a serious offense. If your child is under the age of 18 and has been charged, or is in danger of being charged, with Eluding an Officer then you should contact an experienced lawyer immediately. Our criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John F. Marshal have experience in defending juveniles accused of eluding in NJ. Our attorneys appear throughout the state on these offenses including Monmouth County, Ocean County, Union County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Somerset County, Essex County, Hudson County, and Bergen County. A lawyer with our NJ law firm is available for free initial consultation with you and your child. Please do not hesitate to call if your family is in need of assistance.
New Jersey’s Eluding Law
The New Jersey statute of eluding an officer, § 2C:29-2, applies to juveniles the same way it applies to adult offenders. The NJ eluding an officer offense usually involves an individual fleeing from law enforcement officers with the intent of avoiding arrest and is a crime of the fourth degree. If a fleeing individual uses or threatens physical violence against the law enforcement officer or by some other means creates a substantial risk of injury to the officer or another, than it is upgraded to a third degree offense. It is important to note that it is not a valid defense that the police officer acted unlawfully in making the arrest, provided he was doing his job and announced his intention to arrest prior to the resistance.
Obstruction of Justice
An obstruction of justice, under 2C:29-2, occurs when a person prevents or attempts to prevent a law enforcement officer from making an arrest. This means that an individual can be charged with the offense even if they were not an intended target of the officer’s arrest so long as they obstruct or attempt to obstruct the officer from arresting his intended person. An obstruction of justice charge is generally a disorderly persons offense. These types of offenses usually will not bring any time of incarceration for first time juvenile offenders but the court may still impose harsh punishments such as community service or probation.
Eluding in a Motor Vehicle or Boat
There are enhanced penalties for using a motor vehicle or boat in New Jersey waters to flee from an officer after having received any signal from the officer to bring the vehicle or vessel to a full stop. Such acts usually constitute a crime of the third degree. However, if flight from the officer creates a risk of death or injury to any person, the offender will be guilty of a crime of the second degree. It should be kept in mind that there is a permissive inference that the flight or attempt to elude will create a risk of death or injury to any person. Furthermore, the offense includes a mandatory suspension of the offender’s driver’s license, or boater’s license for six months to two years, depending on the circumstances.
Eluding as Applied to Juveniles
When a juvenile is charged with eluding the court will hold an initial hearing to determine the juvenile’s guilt, called a delinquency hearing. If a juvenile is found delinquent or found guilty of the crime if they were an adult, then the court imposes the appropriate disposition or punishment. Eluding can be a second, third, or fourth degree crime depending on the circumstances. A fourth degree charge can carry the possibility of incarceration for up a year or any one of many non-custodial dispositions such parental supervision, probation, or community service, etc. A third degree eluding conviction will bring a term of incarceration not longer than two years or community service for at least 60 days N.J. Stat. § 2A:4A-43(e)(1). If the juvenile is found guilty of second degree eluding then the court will impose a mandatory term of incarceration not longer than three years but at least 60 days, during which time the juvenile will not be eligible for parole 2A:4A-43(e)(2). If the juvenile used a motor vehicle or boat to elude the police and was less than 17 years old then their license will be suspended for a period determined by the court. A forth degree eluding
Because eluding is a serious offense which can carry with it mandatory incarceration, it is essential to get experienced lawyers to represent your son or daughter to ensure that they receive the opportunity at a second chance. Our lawyers, including a former New Jersey prosecutor, have years of experience at successfully representing juveniles facing serious charges, such as eluding an officer. If you fear your child may be charged with eluding then don’t hesitate, retain the services of the practice proven criminal defense lawyers of the Law Offices of John F. Marshall. Our law firm has offices throughout the state, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Union County, Somerset County, Ocean County, Essex County, Ocean County, Mercer County, Hudson County, and Morris County. With our free initial consultations your family has nothing to wait for, so don’t hesitate to contact our law offices today. Don’t settle for a public defender, because your child isn’t worth settling for, they’re worth fighting for.