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What to do When Arrested in Illinois

Posted by Dominick R. Dolci | May 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

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.

3 Things to Remember While Being Arrested

  1. Confirm your Identity

    If you have been arrested, answer all questions about your identification-such as name, address, and birth date-truthfully. While you have the right to refrain from answering self-incriminating questions, lying will ALWAYS make things worse.

  2. Don't Give Officers a Hard Time

    Giving officers a hard time during the arrest process is also not very beneficial because whether your rights are being violated or not, a police officer can do whatever it is they intend to do. It will not be until later, once you've contacted a criminal defense attorney or get in front of a Judge, that any violation of your rights will make the slightest bit of difference.

  3. Don't Self-Incriminate

    Don't argue but don't answer any questions without your criminal defense attorney present; simply explain that you will be more than happy to answer any questions once your attorney is present. This is EXTREMELY important, as anything you say can and will be used against you in court.

What to do If I've Been Arrested

You cannot say “I think I should have a criminal lawyer present” or “do I need a criminal lawyer, I think that would be best;” you must clearly state in the affirmative: “I want a criminal defense attorney present before I answer any questions”. Now, any and all questioning must stop. People often think if they just answer questions and tell their side then everything will be explained and the police will understand that there has been a mistake. This is almost always not the case. Unfortunately police often feel very strongly that they have the right person and that anything you say is a lie or they are just waiting for you to say even the littlest thing to support their theory of the case.


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Without your consent or extraordinary circumstances, the police cannot arrest youin your home without a warrant. The police can arrest you without a warrant if they have probable cause to believe that you committed an offense in their presence, or when an individual informs an officer that you have just allegedly committed a criminal offense.

Arrested for a Misdemeanor

You can be arrested for committing a misdemeanor, which is a lesser crime. Some examples of misdemeanor criminal charges are:

  • Criminal damage to property
  • Indecent exposure
  • Theft
  • Retail Theft
  • Resisting arrest
  • Stalking
  • Deceptive practice

In addition, a citizen, such as a security guard or store owner, may detain you if you have committed, for example, the offense of retail theft, in their presence. In this instance, they must promptly turn you over to the police.

Arrested for a Felony

If you are arrested for a felony criminal charge without a warrant, you are entitled to a prompt hearing (preliminary hearing) to determine whether or not the arresting officer had probable cause (the minimum level of required evidence) to arrest you. However, you may not have an opportunity for a preliminary hearing, where your criminal attorney can cross-examine the arresting officer and challenge the State's evidence. The State is allowed to avoid a preliminary hearing by submitting evidence, in secret, to a grand jury which will return a bill of indictment against you.

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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