Defining Resisting Arrest in Illinois
What’s does it mean to resist arrest in Illinois? Most people have a pretty narrow view of the law, assuming it means – essentially – fighting back when an officer tries to arrest you. However, while this is certainly one way that someone can get hit with the charge, it isn’t the only one.
In this post, we will detail what resisting arrest really means under the laws of our state and tell you what penalties may result.
Resisting or Obstructing the Acts of a Protected Worker
The first thing to know about resisting arrest in Illinois is that the law isn’t just resisting arrest – the actual title is “Resisting or Obstructing the Acts of a Protected Worker.”
That broadens the definition quite a bit. In our state, you can face charges for resisting or obstructing the performance of a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee when he or she is acting within his or her official capacity.
Examples of resisting a protected worker
- Refusing to consent to an arrest
- Responding slowly or with reluctance
- Hitting an officer during an arrest
- Pulling or running away from an officer during an arrest
- Requiring the arresting officer to drag or carry you during an arrest
Examples of obstructing a protected worker
- Refusing to leave a crime scene when instructed to do so
- Providing false information or a false ID to a police officer
- Interfering with a police investigation
- Preventing a firefighter from doing his or her job
Even if the original arrest was invalid, charges can still apply for resisting or obstructing a protected worker. That’s why you need the help of a qualified Illinois criminal defense attorney if you are facing charges.
Penalties for Resisting or Obstructing in Illinois
A violation is a Class A misdemeanor under Illinois law. Conviction will result in at least 48 hours in jail or 100 hours of community service, with no probation. You may also face fines.
If a violation causes injury to the protected worker, a Class 4 felony charge will apply. This could result in one to three years in prison.
Note that sometimes resisting arrest or obstructing a peace officer is charged along with disorderly conduct and other related charges.
Possible Defenses to Resisting or Obstructing in Illinois
If the arresting officer used excessive force or did not identify himself or herself at the time of arrest, you can use self-defense as your primary defense against your charges.
In certain cases, the arresting officer may have made a factual error that you can contest in court. A knowledgeable attorney will know if this defense applies in your case.
For a conviction to occur, the prosecution must be able to prove that you knew or should have known the person was a peace officer or other protected worker. The prosecution must also prove that the person was acting within their scope of duties when the incident occurred. Finally, the prosecution must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you were, in fact, resisting or obstructing arrest.
If your attorney can find problems with any of those case elements, your charges may be reduced or dropped.
Getting Legal Assistance for a Resisting Arrest Charge
Resisting arrest is a serious charge that could result in significant penalties. If you’re also facing other charges, you may feel overwhelmed and worried by the potential fines and jail time. You need the help of a skilled Illinois criminal defense attorney to fight your charges and protect your rights.
A conviction can result in significant changes to your ability to earn an income, secure a loan, apply for schools, or find quality housing. That’s why you need an attorney to assist you.
A knowledgeable attorney will explain your rights and your options. Call today for a free case review and we will form a plan to help you achieve the best possible outcome. Don’t hesitate to enlist our help.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.