Most states have laws that prohibit resisting or delaying police officers, known as resisting arrest. Under Illinois law, generally when someone fails to obey the lawful command of an officer it is a misdemeanor offense. Conversely, when the resistance involves violence, or physical force, it becomes a felony offense. Some acts that can constitute “resisting arrest” include:
- Threatening a law enforcement officer;
- Helping someone else avoid arrest;
- Giving false identification (verbally or via a fake ID); or
- Physically resisting (running away, hiding, struggling with the officer).
It is important to note that questioning an officer’s actions or authority before eventually obeying is not resisting arrest. Similarly, being too slow to comply or swearing at an officer – on its own – is not enough for resisting arrest charges.
Defenses to Resisting Arrest
Depending on the facts of the particular case, a person charged with resisting arrest may have defenses available. This is because the charges are based on an individual’s resistance of an officer of the law during the lawful execution of his or her duties. Some, but not all, defenses include:
- Failure of officer to self identify – a person cannot intentionally resist arrest if he or she is unaware that the arrestor is a law enforcement officer, such as an undercover agent.
- Self-defense – an individual has the right to defend him or herself against police misconduct and when this occurs the arrest goes from being lawful to unlawful, as long as the officer’s use of force is not in response to forceful resistance.
- False allegations – this defense can be won if it is proven – through witness testimonies – that no act or commentary by the accused fits the definition of resisting arrest.
- Unlawful arrest – if the arrest by the officer is unlawful, such as an unconstitutional search of your home, then it likely doesn’t matter whether or not resistance occurred.
Resisting arrest charges can include fines and jail times of a year or more, depending on the charge. Moreover, should an accused have a criminal history or is already on probation sentencing can be affected.
Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with resisting arrest in Illinois, contact the experienced and aggressive legal professionals at Goldman & Associates right away. A criminal record – especially a conviction that cannot be sealed or expunged – can negatively affect your life. Don’t try to fight this battle on your own. Call (773) 484-3131 today for your initial case evaluation.