Chicago Resisting Arrest, Obstructing Police, Obstructing Justice Defense Lawyers
What is Resisting Arrest?
In Illinois, it is against the law for people to knowingly resist arrest, obstruct a peace officer, or to obstruct justice. In order to protect police officers (and some other protected classes including firefighters and jail or prison guards) acting in the line of duty, our legislature took away the right of self-defense when it applies to individuals being arrested, even where the arrest itself is unlawful. Resisting arrest generally involves a person who refuses to be peacefully arrested by the police.
Regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the innocence of the person being arrested, it is required by law that the arrestee go quietly and without a fight. Clearly when a defendant runs from the police, eludes the police, strikes back or hits the police, this will be considered resisting arrest.
But other less obvious actions on the part of the defendant will also likely constitute resisting, such as pulling one's hand away even slightly when about to be handcuffed, refusing to put one's hands behind one's back when ordered, refusing to put one’s hands on the squad car, refusing to turn around or refusing to lay down on the ground. In short, the laws surrounding resisting arrest require the defendant to comply fully and promptly with police orders. When charged with resisting arrest, call the legal team at Sexner & Associates LLC 24 hours a day at (800) 996-4824.
What is Obstruction of a Peace Officer?
Obstructing police on the other hand, usually involves getting in the way of the police or making their job more difficult. For instance, when police are investigating a crime scene and people begin to gather and watch, one may be charged with obstructing the police if that person does not clear the area promptly upon request. In short, if a person physically gets in the way of an officer in the performance of his official duties, it is probably a violation of the law. Normally, it is a Class A misdemeanor which carries a potential jail sentence of up to 364 days in jail, a fine up to $2,500 or both. For this particular crime, a conviction is mandatory and court supervision is not an option. The court is also required to impose either a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours, or 100 hours of community service. If an officer is injured as a result of the resisting conduct, then the matter becomes a Class 4 Felony punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison. This statute also protects correctional institution officers and firefighters in the performance of their duties as well.
So like it or not, the Law of the Land of Lincoln is that, if ordered by police, firefighters or paramedics to do a thing, whether or not you want to do that thing, if you do not do that thing, then you will be charged with resisting or obstructing based upon your refusal to do that thing.
Defenses to Obstructing & Resisting
There are ways to defend a charge of resisting or obstructing a peace officer. The law requires that your conduct was done knowingly, which means that 1) the police officer was either in uniform, or otherwise had a valid badge or ID card and 2) identified himself/herself as a police officer, and then 3) either told you that you were under arrest, or gave you a related command to put your hands behind your back to be handcuffed, get down on the ground, etc., and then 4) you put up some type of physical resistance such as pushing, pulling, running away, fighting, etc., with the intent to prevent, hinder or obstruct your arrest. If the officer was in plain clothes, perhaps he did not clearly announce his office and display proper ID. If the officer was in uniform, perhaps he failed to clearly inform you of the arrest. Perhaps he/she misunderstood your movements, and you were not intentionally fighting back or struggling at the time of arrest with the purpose of preventing your arrest.
These are the type of things that skilled lawyers like those at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC look for. To properly present a defense to a serious charge such as this, especially where the stakes are high, and a finding of guilt can mean a conviction on one’s record, you should contact an experienced legal team. Our 24 hour phone number is (800) 996-4824.
What is Obstruction of Justice?
Obstruction of Justice occurs when someone intends to 1) interfere with, hinder or obstruct the apprehension, prosecution or defense of another person, 2) destroys, changes, or hides physical evidence, 3) convinces a witness to leave the State of Illinois to hide themselves, 4) leaves the State of Illinois to avoid having to provide information, or 5) otherwise misleads authorities to stand in the way of their investigation. This offense is a Class 4 felony, but if done to help further street gang activity, it is a Class 3 felony.
What is Obstructing Identification?
Another offense is Obstructing Identification. This happens when, after being arrested or lawfully detained by an officer, or if the person is being approached as a possible witness, that person provides a false / fictitious name, residence address or date of birth on purpose. This offense is a Class A misdemeanor.
Obstruction of Justice, as well as Resisting Arrest/Obstructing a Peace Officer, are all considered to be "crimes involving moral turpitude" because they involve dishonesty or bodily harm to another. This type of crime can have serious consequences for a person who is not a United States Citizen and can affect their immigration status and their ability to remain in, or re-enter, the United States. Therefore, if you are here as a permanent resident alien, or on a temporary visitor visa, or without any documentation at all, you will need lawyers when handling your defense that understand these potential consequences.
Chicago Resisting & Obstructing Attorneys Defending Your Legal Rights
Obstructing and resisting charges are serious and they can result in a jail or prison sentence, as well as a conviction that could impact a person’s life forever. Although police certainly should be allowed to do their jobs without being harassed or obstructed, it is not uncommon for police to charge someone at the slightest perceived provocation. We here at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates know that many of our clients are charged with offenses such as these even though they did not really resist or obstruct the police. That's where our experienced and aggressive Chicago defense attorneys come in. The lawyers associated with Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC have handled thousands of such cases and know the best ways to protect our clients. So call us 24 hours a day to arrange a free no-obligation evaluation of your case at (800) 996-4824.