Dupage County Lawyers

Resisting Arrest Charges in Illinois

Resisting arrest and/or obstructing a peace officer are among the most common offenses you can be charged with in Illinois, and police will often use these charges just because they want to arrest you.  While the offense is a misdemeanor, the consequences can be severe, including the potential for jail time, probation, monetary fines, and community service.

Making the situation more complicated is that in Illinois it is often unclear what behavior actually constitutes resisting arrest.  Also, you don’t even have to have been arrested to be charged with this offense, and you can be charged even if the initial arrest was invalid or there is no strong reason to arrest you.

If you have been charged with resisting arrest in Illinois, you are faced with a criminal record and discrimination that will negatively impact you for the rest of your life.  Due to the seriousness and complexity of Illinois criminal law, it is essential to get top-notch legal assistance.  The experienced Illinois resisting arrest defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances and requirements, and will work with you to mount the most effective defense possible.  We offer a free consultation, so contact us for help today at 630-305-0222 if you have been accused of resisting arrest or any criminal charges.

What Illinois Law Says

Resisting arrest is a vaguely defined crime under Illinois law, encompassing a wide array of behaviors and leading to a large number of arrests for the crime each year.  While the charge is a misdemeanor, it holds the potential for jail time, probation, monetary fines, community service and a criminal record that can bring significant consequences for your future.

Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5/31-1 deals with resisting arrest or obstructing a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee, and defines the crimes very broadly and inclusively. The statute states that an individual commits the crime of resisting arrest if they knowingly resist or obstruct the performance by a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee of any authorized act within his or her official capacity.  Resisting arrest can take many forms, as can obstruction, which is any sort of behavior that interferes with performance of an officer’s duty, including making an investigation more difficult. If an officer is injured while you are resisting or obstructing, your offense can even be upgraded to a felony.

Resisting arrest often involves refusing to obey an officer and peacefully consent to arrest by doing things like running away or striking the officer.  However, you can also be charged for less obvious and minor actions, such as refusing to put your hands behind your back or on the police vehicle, or even pulling back your hands while being handcuffed.

Obstructing or interfering with an officer doing a job may occur in situations such as not clearing a crime scene or scene of a fire when instructed to do so, providing an officer with false information or identification, or hiding important evidence.


Resisting arrest or obstructing an officer is a Class A misdemeanor and can be punished by up to one year in jail, a $2,500 fine, or both. The minimum sentence for a conviction is incarceration for at least 48 hours and no less than 100 hours of community service. Also, conviction will create a permanent criminal record that cannot be expunged and can lengthen your sentence if you are ever convicted of a subsequent offense.

If a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee is injured during the process of resisting, charges become a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

What are Defenses?

There are times when police officers use the resisting or obstructing law as a reason to make an arrest when there is not really any basis to do so.  However, in Illinois, the fact that the arrest was not viable is not a defense.

Still, there are some approaches that an experienced attorney can take to defend you against these charges.  A main one is that you acted in self-defense, especially if an officer used excessive force or engaged in improper and violent actions that threatened you.  In addition, it is a defense if you did not know the person was an officer because they did not identify themselves as such or that you did not perform a physical act.

In any case, it’s essential to seek the help of an attorney as soon as possible so that an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the charge can be made.  These may include finding witnesses and subpoenaing any police, traffic, or security videos that may show what happened and that you had valid reasons to resist arrest.

Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.

If you have been charged with resisting arrest or any other criminal offense in Illinois, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can find.  The experienced and seasoned Illinois criminal defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. will examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available in every situation.  We work with our clients to develop an effective defense strategy and determine whether to take a case to trial. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties, rights, and your ability to find employment.

We are aggressive litigators and will answer all your questions and make sure you fully understand the facts surrounding your case.  We represent clients in DuPage County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove and Bolingbrook, and the greater Chicagoland area.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so contact us online or call 630-305-0222 today to schedule your free initial consultation.