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Resisting Arrest in Illinois | Criminal Defense

Resisting Arrest as Defined by 720 ILCS § 5/31-1

A common juvenile offense is resisting arrest, which involves fighting against an officer who is carrying out their duties or impeding someone’s arrest. Under 720 ILCS § 5/31-1, it is illegal to resist or obstruct a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee.

What Actions Are Considered Resisting Arrest in Illinois?

Resisting arrest can include a variety of actions that a person knowingly engages in to obstruct an officer from doing their job or resist being arrested. Common actions that can be considered resisting arrest include:

  • Running from law enforcement officers
  • Getting into a physical altercation with a law enforcement officer
  • Refusing to comply with instructions from officers (i.e. not getting on the ground or moving away from the scene)
  • Arguing with an officer during an arrest, fire, or other incidents
  • Pulling your hands away or moving when an officer is placing you in handcuffs
  • Refusing to lie on the ground or leave a specific area
  • Threatening an officer verbally or physically
  • Struggling in any way during the arrest
  • Refusing to get into the police or law enforcement vehicle

It is important to note that a legally valid defense against resisting arrest involving firefighters is that the defendant ran back into the fire or building to save another person. For instance, if a person was detained or saved but fought against and disregarded warnings from the officers on the scene to save a friend or family member—that is a sound defense. However, it will need to be proven with evidence.

Even if you did not intend to resist arrest, you may face charges if officers believe you resisted a legal search or failed to comply with an order in a timely fashion. In some cases, officers have claimed a person resisted when they complain about the arrest or the force used during the arrest.

During your arrest, take note of what you and the officer do as your attorney can argue that you did not intend to resist or obstruct justice. If you notice other people around or are with others when arrested, their names and information can also be important as they may have video evidence of the arrest. (Yes, it is legal to record public police interactions.

What Are the Penalties for Resisting Arrest in Illinois?

In most cases, resisting arrest is considered a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,500, and/or a mandatory court assessment (if anger management or mental health is a concern).

Resisting arrest can also be charged as a Class 4 felony if the officer is injured because of the defendant’s action. A Class 4 felony is punishable by up to 3 years in jail as well as a fine of up to $25,000.

Get Legal Help

The Law Office of Steven Fine is here and equipped to help you defend yourself against criminal charges, including resisting arrest. With over 20 years of legal experience, our attorney is known for providing clients with individualized, high-quality counsel. The sooner you contact our team the better—we can help you throughout the entire legal process (i.e. from the beginning of the investigation or your arrest to the case conclusion).

Schedule case consultation today by calling (312) 436-0638 or reaching out online.