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Criminal Defense for Resisting Arrest in Illinois

When an officer approaches you under the suspicion you committed a criminal offense – like a DUI, theft, or assault – you should not react but cooperate. You should also advise the officer you will not answer questions but, if under arrest, want an attorney. There is nothing wrong with this; it is perfectly within your rights. If the officer arrests you, be calm and do not voluntarily give information (except your name and, if pulled over, your driver's license, vehicle registration, and auto insurance policy).

When an officer attempts to arrest you, what you cannot do is become confrontational or otherwise fail to listen to the police officer. You can be accused of resisting an arrest. So, now, not only will you be charged with the underlying offense, but you will also be charged with resisting arrest. 

We all know today – with the help of social media – how aggressive police officers are, even when not provoked. So, it's hard not to resist. At Dolci & Weiland, we will review your case, investigate it, and aggressively defend you. Here, we describe the offense of resisting arrest. Contact us to schedule a consultation to get answers to your specific questions.

What is Resisting Arrest in Illinois?

Resisting arrest is a criminal offense in Illinois governed by 720 ILCS 5/31-1 and is legally referred to as "resisting or obstructing a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee." The offense is committed when a person

knowingly resists or obstructs the performance by one known to the person to be a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee of any authorized act within his or her official capacity...

This crime is a crime of intent, which means you must have intentionally resisted the police officer. 

The statute does not define what behavior may constitute resisting or obstructing. The following examples are behaviors that have typically led to this charge:

  • failing to lay down on the ground when instructed to do so
  • running from the police
  • refusing to walk
  • refusing to get into the police vehicle
  • refusing to keep your hands together while the officer tries to handcuff you
  • verbally threatening the officer
  • otherwise struggling with the office during an arrest.

What are the Penalties for an Illinois Conviction of Resisting Arrest?

Resisting arrest is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor, but it can be charged as a Class 4 felony if the officer is injured and your actions while resisting an arrest directly caused the injury.

  • A Class A misdemeanor can result in jail up to one year and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • A Class 4 felony can result in prison between one and three years and a fine of up to $25,000.

Regardless of all else, if you are convicted of resisting arrest, you will be ordered to a minimum of 48 consecutive hours of imprisonment or a minimum of 100 hours of community service.

Are there defenses to an Allegation of Resisting Arrest in Illinois?

There is an affirmative defense according to the statute, and that is if you resisted arrest to rescue or attempt to rescue another person from a dwelling, residence, building, or other structure.

In the absence of this affirmative defense, your attorney will put forth an argument that explains or otherwise justifies your actions. The line of reasoning used will be specific to your case. Some justifications could include:

  • You acted in self-defense.
  • The arrest was unlawful.
  • You did not intend to resist the officer.
  • The officer was not on duty or acting in the capacity of a police officer at the time.
  • The evidence doesn't support the charge of resisting arrest. 

As you know, each case is different and your defense will reflect the unique circumstances and facts of your case. With the help of a strong criminal defense lawyer, your defense could turn into a winning strategy.

Contact Experienced Resisting Arrest Criminal Defense Attorneys in the Greater Chicago Metro Area

If you have been arrested for a criminal offense along with resisting arrest, you need the help of competent, aggressive criminal defense attorneys. Contact Dolci & Weiland today either online or at 630.261.9098to get started on your case.