As with disorderly conduct charges, resisting arrest is vaguely defined under Illinois law in order to incorporate a range a behavior. For that reason, convictions are easier to reach. As a misdemeanor offense, it is one of the most common charges in the state. Often this means the subject refused to put their hands behind their back, ran or drove away, or chose to ignore the commands of an officer in some other way.
Although the offender typically resists arrest from a police officer, an individual can also incur charges by obstructing a firefighter or correctional officer. Firefighters are usually involved during cases of arson. The charge can be elevated to a felony if the altercation results in injury of the officer. The official language of the law 720 ILCS 5/31-1 is as follows:
“A person who knowingly resists or obstructs the performance by one known to the person to be a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee of any authorized act within his or her official capacity commits a Class A misdemeanor.”
It should be noted that the law makes a special provision against obstructing an officer of the law. For this reason, an individual can incur charges by preventing a police investigation, arrest of someone else, or practically any of his or her normal duties.
If in the future you find yourself interacting with a police officer, follow these guidelines in order to avoid resisting arrest charges:
Resisting arrest is a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties are up to 1 year in jail or a fine $2,500, though the sentence can result in both punishments. Importantly, defendants do not have the option of a sentence of supervision. In other words, the least severe punishment still involves a regular conviction and consequently will remain on permanent record. If you have been charged with resisting arrest or obstructing justice, it especially important to equip yourself with a professional legal defense. That is your best chance of avoiding permanent consequences.
Any individual convicted of resisting arrest has no option but to be incarcerated for a minimum of 48 hours and perform at least 100 community service hours.
When the altercation results in injury of an officer or fireman, the charge is elevated to a Class 4 felony, which carries a punishment of a 1-3 year prison sentence and a fine of up to $25,000. As usual, if the defendant has prior convictions, the sentencing will likely be more severe.
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