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What is the Difference Between Being Detained vs. Arrested in Illinois

Posted by Dominick R. Dolci | May 19, 2014 | 0 Comments

Facing law enforcement is undoubtedly an extremely intimidating situation -- one which is oftentimes compounded when you are unsure what your exact situation is. If you have been approached and taken in by Illinois or DuPage County law enforcement, a plethora of questions may flood through your mind.

Are you under arrest?

Or are you being detained? 

What even is the difference between the two? 

What will ultimately happen to you? 

We understand that those questions can be incredibly scary to think about. However, if you understand the difference between detention and arrest in Illinois, you can take that first step in securing your personal interests while in police custody. If you are informed, you can protect yourself.  

What is the Difference Between Being Detained and Being Arrested in Illinois or DuPage County? 

A police officer may detain a person, without arresting the person, if the officer has articulable suspicion that the person is engaging in criminal activity. For example, a police officer may request identification and conduct a limited search for weapons (for the officer's safety) if the officer observes a person pacing in front of a closed store late at night. This is called a “Terry Stop.” Or, a store owner or employee might detain a person for a short time if they have a strong reason to believe that the person has stolen or was attempting to steal something from the store.

In an arrest, a police officer, state trooper, or sheriff restrains your freedom of movement because of your possible involvement in a criminal offense. The arresting officer may take you into custody, or you may be stopped, verbally or physically, for questioning about a crime. At the time of your arrest, the arresting officers should inform you they have a warrant and produce the warrant for your review. If they have criminally charged you, ask the nature of the criminal charges.

Arrested or Detained by Illinois Law Enforcement? DuPage County Defense Attorneys Can Help. 

As former prosecutors and defense attorneys with decades of experience defending clients throughout DuPage County, Cook County, and Illinois, the legal team at Dolci & Weiland strives to protect the rights of our clients and fight for their interests, from arrest to trial. We know the ins and outs of criminal cases in Illinois and are ready to defend you if you are ever arrested or detained on a criminal law matter. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today at (630) 261-9098.

About the Author

Dominick R. Dolci

Managing Partner Dominick R. Dolci focuses his practice on criminal defense litigation and civil litigation. Dom graduated from John Marshall law school in 1990. He began his legal training in the Cook County States Attorneys Office where he worked at 26th and California. He then transferred ...


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