NJ Criminal Defense Lawyer & Former Prosecutor
Attempting to Disarm a Police Officer
An arrest, charge or indictment for disarming or attempting to disarm a police officer is an extremely serious offense under the New Jersey criminal code. The criminal defense lawyers at our NJ law firm have experience in handling disarmament cases and represent individuals in these types of cases statewide including Monmouth County, Union County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, Somerset County, Burlington County, Essex County, Hudson County, Bergen County, and Passaic County. Please do not hesitate to contact our law office if you or a loved one was arrested or indicted for disarming a cop under N.J.S.A. 2C:12-11. A lawyer is available to speak to you and address your concerns immediately. The following information has been provided to assist you.
New Jersey Disarming a Police Officer Law
The criminal laws of NJ include a specific statute concerning the crime of attempting to disarm or disarming a law enforcement officer. The law is contained at N.J.S.A. 2C:12-11 and provides as follows:
2C:12-11. Disarming law enforcement or corrections officer
a. A person who knowingly takes or attempts to exercise unlawful control over a firearm or other weapon in the possession of a law enforcement or corrections officer when that officer is acting in the performance of his duties, and either is in uniform or exhibits evidence of his authority, is guilty of a crime of the second degree.
b. A person violating the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be guilty of a crime of the first degree if:
- The person fires or discharges the firearm;
- The person uses or threatens to use the firearm or weapon against the officer or any other person; or
- The officer or another person suffers serious bodily injury.
Explanation of the Law
A person charged under the statute can be subjected to a first-degree or second-degree offense, depending on the extent of the encounter. It is a second-degree offense for a suspect to attempt to disarm or to actually disarm a police officer. Where the disarming progresses to the point that the gun or firearm discharges and/or is fired, the gun is pointed or used against the officer, or a person suffers serious bodily injury, the charge is a first-degree offense. In either case, we are talking about a serious criminal indictment which carries a presumption of incarceration. It is therefore crucially important for an individual to hire a knowledgeable attorney to defend him given the exposure associated with a conviction.
In order to prove a second-degree indictment or charge for disarming in NJ, the prosecutor must establish: (1) that the suspect knowingly took or attempted to take control of a firearm or weapon; (2) the weapon or firearm was possessed by a member of law enforcement; (3) the law enforcement officer was acting in the performance of his duties; and (4) the law enforcement officer was in uniform or exhibited evidence of his authority. An additional element must be established by the state where an individual is charged with a first-degree offense—that the firearm went off, the firearm or weapon was used to threaten the police officer, or someone suffered serious bodily injury. The first element is established when there is an interference with the officer’s possession or control of the weapon. See State v. Cross, 330 N.J.Super. 516 (App. Div. 2000). “Weapon” means anything capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury. See N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1(r). It must be emphasized, however, that the suspect must knowingly undertake unlawful disarmament for a violation to occur. Accordingly, there is no disarming under the statute if the suspect acts lawfully such as in the case of a superior law enforcement officer or where the defendant is acting in justified self-defense. Under the first-degree pedigree of the statute, “serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. There are clearly multiple elements and facts which a lawyer for the State and/or County Prosecutor’s office must prove and the criminal defense attorneys at our NJ law firm will make sure that the prosecution meets its proofs or that the case is dismissed and/or downgraded.
An arrest and/or indictment for disarming is obviously serious and involves significant risk of incarceration. The criminal defense lawyers at our law firm are prepared to assist you. Our attorneys have the experience and finesse needed in these types of cases. Disarming cases tend to be very contentious and selection of the right defense lawyer is very important. Please feel free to contact our law office as we would be happy to discuss your Monmouth County, Ocean County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Union County, Somerset County, Burlington County, Essex County, Hudson County or Bergen County case.