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Resisting Arrest Charges

In almost all the states, there are laws against resisting or delaying a police officer, known as resisting arrest. Under Illinois Law, when someone fails to obey the lawful command of an officer, it is a misdemeanor offense. However, when the resistence involves violence, or physical force, it becomes a felony offense. Some of the acts that constitute a "resisting arrest" offense include:

  • Threatning a Law Enforcement Officer
  • Helping another avoid arrest
  • Giving false identification
  • Physically resisting by running away, hiding or struggling with the officer

Questioning an officer's actions or authority before obeying is not considered resisting arrest. Also, being too slow to comply or swearing at an officer is not enough for resisting arrest charges. 


A person charged with resisting arrest may have defenses, depending on the particular case. The defenses are based on the person's resistance of an officer of the law during the lawful execution of his or her duties. Somme, but not all, defenses include.

  • Failure of officer to self identify - Intentionally resisting arrest requires a person be aware that the arrestor is a law enforcement officer, therefore if a person is unaware that the arrestor is a police officer, they cannot intentionally resist arrest.
  • Self-defense - An indivividual has the right to defend themselves against police misconduct. When this happens the arrest goes from being lawful to unlawful. This is true as long as the officer's use of force is not in response to forceful resistance.
  • False Allegations - This defense may apply if it can be proven that no act or commentary by the accused fits the definetion of resisting arrest
  • Unlawful Arrest - If the arrest by the officer is unlawful based on an unconstitutional search of your home , then it likely doesn't matter whether or not resistance occured.

Resisting arrest charges can include fines and jail time of a year or more, depending on the charge. If the accused has a criminal record or prior arrests, this may affect sentencing.



Contact The Odeh Law Group for a free case evaluation with a Chicago criminal attorney. Please complete the form and a representative from The Odeh law Group will contact you shortly.


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