A person in the neighborhood was struck down and killed. An incoherent witness places you at the crime scene. Cops are now knocking on your door and you don’t know why. You ask the officer what’s the problem and next thing you know, you are placed under arrest. Will you go voluntarily or will you resist arrest?
In the most general sense, resisting arrest is usually defined as intentionally preventing a police officer from lawfully arresting or handcuffing you or taking you to jail. Physical acts, such as running away, hiding, or struggling with the officer are considered forms of resisting arrest. Illinois Compiled Statutes, however, does not limit the identity of arresting officers to law enforcement personnel, but also includes firefighters and correctional employees.
Are You Allowed to Resist Arrest?
Noll-law.com tells us that there are a number of potential charges that law enforcement and prosecutors can place on people when they wish to arrest someone, but do not have a good legal or factual reason to do so. So what do you do when faced with this situation?
Even if you know that the arrest is improper or unlawful, it is wise to go with the authorities instead of resisting arrest. Cops are trained to react to resistance and it is very likely that they will respond by force to overcome you. Since they have the immediate capacity to take that level all the way to deadly force, you’re putting odds against your favor.
It is also very likely that the court will view your resistance as a consciousness of guilt, not the recognition that the arrest is unlawful and the arrestee’s resistance is a reasonable response. You as a defendant may prevail in court if the officer’s testimony is impeached (showing he was not being truthful) or the court was made aware that the officer had a reputation for untruthfulness or fabrication of probable cause. These officers and instances do exist, but they tend to be rare. Most officers are well-intentioned and truthful, and the courts know this.
No one wants to be arrested, but always keep in mind that an arrest made in error is not necessarily unlawful if the officers believe it was lawful and reasonable. When you find yourself in this situation, it is better to cooperate first and ask for a legal representation while in custody.