When the police came after you, you said some foolish things that you wish you could take back. Is there a way?

The answer may turn on when you were legally under arrest.

Generally, you are under arrest if a reasonable person in your shoes would feel they were not free to leave. If you could have walked away but didn’t, your statements may be used against you. If a reasonable person would not feel free to leave but no Miranda warnings were given, an attorney may be able to ask the court to suppress your statements.

To determine when you are under arrest, Illinois courts look at the following factors: 1) the threatening presence of several officers; 2) an officer’s display of a weapon; 3) some physical touching of your person; and 4) the use of language or tone of voice indicating that you may be compelled to comply with the officer’s request. Additionally, Illinois courts look at: 1) the time, place, length, mood, and mode of the encounter between you and police; 2) the number of police officers present; 3) any indication of formal arrest or restraint, such as the use of handcuffs or drawing of guns; 4) the officers’ intent; 5) your subjective belief or understanding; 6) whether you were told you could refuse to accompany police; 7) whether you were transported in a police car; 8) whether you were told you were free to leave; 9) whether you were told you were under arrest; and (10) the language officers used.

For example, in People v Gutierrez, the court found that the defendant’s actual arrest occurred in defendant’s home rather than at the police station. The court reasoned that six to ten armed officers arrived at defendant’s home awakening him at 5 a.m. Officers searched defendant’s bedroom. Defendant was never told he was free to leave. Finally, defendant was handcuffed in the police car, but not for the safety of the officers or investigation. Therefore, a reasonable person would not have felt free to leave. Because defendant’s arrest had been illegal, his statements could not be used unless the prosecution could otherwise show that the statements did not stem from the illegal arrest.

If you have questions about a criminal case, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can evaluate your case for its best possible defense. If officers lacked probable cause to arrest you or did not read your Miranda warnings before your arrest, an attorney may be able to petition the court to throw out the evidence against you. Even if the officers acted legally and 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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