Fleeing And Eluding Police In New Jersey
Everyone is familiar with the scenario. You are driving down the road and police emergency lights go on behind you. A police officer has been following you and now you have an obligation to pull over. Most citizens will immediately stop the car. However, some make a bad decision to flee, because there may be illegal contraband or drugs in the vehicle.
It is always in your best interest to stop. Fleeing and eluding (N.J.S. 2C:29-2) in NJ is a criminal offense that will lead to suspended driving privileges and possibly will result in jail time. Even if you are guilty of some crime prior to being stopped, chances are, you will only make it worst if you floor it.
In the State of New Jersey, when someone fails to bring a vehicle to a full stop on any highway, street or waterway within state boundaries after being requested by law enforcement to do so, he or she can be found guilty of a third degree charge of eluding an officer.
The jail time for a third degree eluding is up to five years. If the flight creates a risk of death or serious bodily injury to any person, then the offense is a second degree crime. If convicted of a second degree eluding offense, the court must sentence the driver to prison time up to ten years.
In addition to incarceration, drivers convicted of fleeing will have their driver’s licenses suspended for a minimum of six months and up to two years. If the driver already had a suspended license, the state will just add this suspension period to the end of the current one. The suspension is automatic and understood as part of the charge. Drivers claiming they were not notified of their suspension would most likely still face charges if found driving with an eluding-related license suspension.
What if you were really innocent of any wrongdoing at the time the officer tried to pull you over? Unfortunately, that is not a defense. Even if the arrest from which you were fleeing was later found to be unlawful, you could still be convicted of resisting arrest and eluding an officer. As long as the officer makes it clear that he intends to stop you prior to fleeing the scene, you could be found guilty of this crime.