Chicago Resisting Arrest Lawyer

Resisting arrest is one of the most common criminal charges in Illinois. If you get arrested for any offense – from assault to drunk driving – and fail to obey the arresting officer, you may get charged with resisting arrest. In fact, you can even get charged with resisting arrest over behavior as mild as a remark or gesture that threatens or offends the officer.

If you’ve been charged with resisting arrest, it means that you may need to defend against two charges: the resisting arrest charge and the charge that initiated the arrest. This makes hiring good legal representation all the more important in resisting arrest cases. Call a Chicago resisting arrest lawyer at O’Meara Law today at to find out how Michael O’Meara can help you.

How Does Illinois Law Define Resisting Arrest?

According to 720 ILCS 5/31-1, it’s a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 in fines to resist arrest or to obstruct a police officer, firefighter, or correctional facility employee who was lawfully carrying out an official duty. A conviction will result in at least two full days of detainment, or at least 100 hours of community service. Resisting arrest becomes a Class 4 felony punishable by one to three years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines if the officer gets injured as a result of your resistance.

The Illinois criminal statute does not offer a precise definition of what behavior may be considered resisting. In practice, however, any behavior that does not constitute complete obedience to the arresting officer’s instructions may be considered resistance. So you might be facing resisting arrest charges for any of the following:

  • Running from the police
  • Failing to lay down when instructed
  • Pulling your hands away while getting handcuffed
  • Intentionally going limp or refusing to walk
  • Struggling with a police officer
  • Threatening a police officer while being arrested

How Can I Fight My Resisting Arrest Charges?

If you feel that you’re being arrested unjustly, it may be difficult to contain your anger and comply with the officer’s instructions. If you act aggressively towards an officer attempting to arrest you, you can be sure to face charges for resisting arrest. Fortunately, your lawyer may be able deploy one or more defenses on your behalf, such as claiming that:

  • The arrest was unlawful – If your lawyer can show that the officer whom you resisted was not lawfully exercising his or her duties at the time of the incident, you may win your case.
  • You were acting in self-defense – When a police officer uses excessive force against you, you have the right to defend yourself. If footage from dashboard or body camera confirms your lawful use of self-defense, you may be acquitted of your resisting arrest charges.
  • You did not know you were resisting an officer – You cannot be convicted of resisting arrest if you didn’t know that you were being arrested by a police officer. Undercover officers must clearly identify themselves when making arrests.
  • There is insufficient evidence that you resisted – The prosecutor must prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. When the available evidence does not meet this standard, an acquittal is likely.

Every case is different, and the best defense strategy will depend on the evidence the prosecutor has against you and the circumstances under which you were arrested. In any case, you will need a lawyer who will take the time to give your case a thorough look and develop a strategic approach to your defense.

Your Chicago resisting arrest lawyer will need to review the facts of your case, formulate a plan of action with you, and then advocate zealously on your behalf. When you retain O’Meara Law to work on your defense, you can rest assured we will explore every avenue for obtaining a positive resolution for your case.

To learn more about how we can help you specifically, call us today at for a free and confidential case consultation.