There are instances where a person may find themselves in the position of resisting arrest, either intentionally or unintentionally. Admittedly, in either case, encounters with law enforcement officers can be intimidating and overwhelming because of the potentially serious consequences.
It is very necessary for individuals to understand their rights and legal obligations when it comes to resisting arrest charges in Chicago, as a misunderstanding of the law could potentially lead to serious consequences.
In 2021, more than 4.53 million people were arrested in the US for various offenses. Arguably, this is a large figure, indicating the prevalence of arrests across the nation. Data from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority further confirms the alarming rate of arrests in Illinois alone, perhaps due to the state's strict laws against resisting arrest.
Illinois laws regarding resisting arrest or obstructing a peace officer are outlined in 720 ILCS 5/31-1. According to the statute, it is unlawful for an individual to knowingly resist or obstruct the performance of an authorized act by a peace officer, correctional institution employee, or employee of the Department of Corrections.
That includes any attempt to obstruct, resist, or interfere with a peace officer while on duty, even if the person arrested is innocent of any crime.
According to Illinois law, a peace officer or a correctional institution employee performing their official duties may legally arrest any person whom they reasonably believe has committed a crime or violated probation. If a person resists or obstructs the arrest, they may face additional criminal charges.
Common Acts That Lead to Resisting Arrest Charges
There are several forms of resisting arrest in Illinois that could result in criminal charges. Examples include:
Refusing to comply with a peace officer's commands;
Struggling or fighting a police officer while being arrested;
Verbally threatening an officer while they attempt to perform their duty;
Attempting to flee from an officer;
Using physical force to resist arrest or obstruct a peace officer;
Hiding from the police while they attempt to make an arrest; and
Refusing to provide identification when asked.
Refusal to remain in a police vehicle while being transported;
Providing false information to law enforcement; and
Tampering with evidence or trying to alter the crime scene.
Types of Resisting Arrest Charges and Their Penalties in Illinois
The penalties for resisting arrest in Illinois vary depending on the type of conduct and the underlying offense. Generally, there are two types of resisting arrest: felony and misdemeanor.
Felony Resisting Arrest
A felony resisting arrest charge is a more serious offense than a misdemeanor and is punishable by imprisonment in the state penitentiary. It carries with it a minimum sentence of one year and a maximum jail term of three years and/or a fine of $25,000, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. If you’re convicted of a felony resisting arrest charge, you could face up to three years in prison.
Misdemeanor Resisting Arrest
A misdemeanor resisting arrest charge is less serious than a felony and usually carries with it a short term in county jail, up to one year, and/or potential fines and fees. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, you may also be sentenced to a period of probation and/or court-mandated community service.
Possible Defenses Against Resisting Arrest Charges
The best way to defend yourself against a resisting arrest charge is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can provide the guidance and advice that you need to build a strong defense against the charges.
Legality of the Arrest
If you have been charged with resisting arrest in Illinois, your legal team or criminal defense lawyer may be able to help by challenging the legality of the arrest. For example, an unlawful arrest. If there is reasonable doubt about the underlying arrest or the police officer’s actions at the time of your arrest, it may be possible to have the charges against you dropped.
Your attorney can also use an affirmative defense to help you avoid a conviction for resisting arrest. An affirmative defense is used when the defendant can prove that their conduct was necessary in order to protect themselves or those around them from harm.
Misidentification or Lack of Intent
Furthermore, depending on the type of conduct, your legal team may be able to provide an affirmative defense based on misidentification or lack of intent. Attorneys can also seek to reduce the charges if it is deemed appropriate given the circumstances of the case.
Additionally, an experienced lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea deal or secure a pretrial release. A plea deal is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecution that results in reduced charges or a lighter sentence. This can be especially beneficial if you are facing a felony resisting arrest charge, as it may result in a shorter jail term or lesser fines.
Contact Our Firm if You Have Been Charged With Resisting Arrest
Resisting arrest charges in Illinois can lead to costly fines, jail time, and a criminal record. It is important to understand your legal rights and limitations when it comes to interacting with law enforcement officers.
If you are facing arrest charges in Illinois, contact Ktenas Law for legal advice and representation. Our legal team has extensive experience in criminal defense and can help you build a strong defense or negotiate a plea deal. Remember, it is always better to be prepared and have in-depth knowledge of the legal system and your rights.
Call today at (312) 756-8652 for a free consultation or submit your information through our contact form and we will reach out to you shortly.