You picked a fight with the wrong guy–an off duty police officer who was moonlighting as a bouncer at your favorite bar. The charge would have been simple battery if the bouncer hadn’t been a cop, but instead you are charged with aggravated battery. Since the officer was off duty, can you still be convicted?

The answer is yes, provided the officer was performing his official duties. A recent Illinois case has held that preventing a crime, even to himself, falls within an officer’s official duties even if the officer is off work at the time.

In People v. Brewer, the defendant was convicted of first degree murder based on killing an officer in the course of his official duties. In this case, the state sought a higher sentence based on the victim’s status as an officer rather than asking for increased charges. The defendant argued that the officer was merely trying to defend himself as a crime victim and was not acting in the course of his official duties. The court disagreed.

The court held that any action taken by an officer to prevent a crime, including a crime against himself, was taken in the performance of official duties. An officer has the duty to maintain public order wherever he or she may be. The officer’s duties are not limited to a specific time and place. The defendant’s actions toward the officer was the crime which the officer had a duty to prevent.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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