How to Handle IL Resisting Arrest Charges After George Floyd Protests
Chicago, just like many other cities throughout the United States, has had a tough few weeks. Protests are raging across the country related to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. These protests have sparked some violence and looting – something Chicago has not been immune to.
As reported by Patch.com, at the beginning of June one weekend protest saw 700 people arrested in Chicago, including many charges of resisting arrest. Here’s what you need to know if you find yourself facing a resisting arrest charge as the result of a protest or any other incident.
What Is Resisting Arrest in Illinois?
According to Illinois Statues 720 ILCS 5/31-1, if you knowingly obstruct or resist the performance of a known peace officer, correctional institution employee, peace officer, or anyone authorized to act within their official capacity, then you are resisting arrest.
The purpose of the statute is to ensure police officers have the authority to arrest you or conduct an investigation. If you take action to impede that, then it can result in a criminal charge of resisting arrest.
It’s crucial to note that the statute does not specify what acts are considered resisting or obstructing arrest, nor does it give exceptions to the law. That means police as well as prosecutors have a lot of discretion to charge under the statute — which is why having proper legal representation is vital.
The Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Illinois
This crime is a Class A misdemeanor. While misdemeanors are generally the least serious type of crime, there are still legal consequences if you are found guilty that can have a serious impact on your life.
If you obstruct or resist arrest, then it is punishable by up to one year in jail. If you are convicted, the law requires you to serve at least 48 hours in jail and complete 100 hours of community service.
The charges for resisting arrest can be upgraded to a Class 4 felony if a correctional institution employee, firefighter, or police officer is injured when you are obstructing or resisting arrest. If convicted of a Class 4 felony, you can face up to three years in prison.
It’s also important to note that if you are convicted of resisting arrest, you cannot have it later expunged from your record. It will be a part of your criminal history forever. This can create an issue for you when seeking new employment or even
Defenses against Illinois Resisting Arrest Charges
Preparing a proper defense is crucial when facing resisting arrest charges. Experienced legal counsel can help you to analyze the evidence provided by the prosecution. Some types of evidence help to show how strong the case may be against you, such as:
- Any written or verbal statements you’ve made
- The reason you were stopped in the first place
- Video or pictures of the location where the act took place
- Police reports from officers on the scene
- The facts and circumstances that lead to the event
- Witness statements from people other than the accused
Sometimes diversion programs are offered, such as anger management, and the charges can be dropped. If these types of diversion programs aren’t offered, then your attorney can help to have charges reduced or dismissed based on any lack of evidence they find.
Resisting arrest charges can happen to anyone. Make sure you’re prepared so if it happens to you, then you know what to do.
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. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.