Our Morris County readers may have seen the recent mug shot of a local resident who suffered multiple blows to the face by police during an arrest. One might assume such means would only be employed against a suspect facing violent crime charges, perhaps one armed with a firearm or out of control due to substance use. Not so in this case — the suspect was merely wanted on charges related to credit card theft.
A New Jersey woman reportedly told police that her credit card had been used by someone else to buy merchandise online totaling around $170. She told police she thought it was likely an ex-boyfriend, a man in his mid-thirties who was also facing charges of stealing from a home in which he had been doing repairs. Police issued a search warrant and eventually tracked the suspect down to an apartment.
According to police, when they tried to arrest him, he refused to cooperate. Supposedly they struggled, and officers struck two blows to the left side of his face before cuffing him. They also reportedly found a knife in his pocket (not his hand), and there was no word of any injuries to police. The suspect had to be seen at a local hospital for chest pains following the incident.
In time, physical injuries defendants like this suffer at the hands of police during an arrest will likely heal. But the serious consequences of a theft charge conviction can endure and have repercussions far beyond what many would expect. First and second convictions will go on a criminal record, of course, with associated fines and restitution. A third conviction means mandatory imprisonment in New Jersey.
Sometimes facing police in a situation like this can provoke a fight-or-flight reaction. But defendants do better to focus on fighting the charges in court with a legal professional’s help.