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 the exact moment 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 and 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 have weighed the following factors: 1) the threatening presence of several officers, 2) some physical touching of your person, 3) the use of language or tone of voice indicating that you may be compelled to comply with the officer’s request, 4) the time, place, length, mood, and mode of the encounter between you and police, 5) any indication of formal arrest or restraint such as the use of handcuffs or display of weapons, 6) the officers’ intent, 7) your subjective belief or understanding, 8) whether you were told you could refuse to accompany police or that you were free to leave, 9) whether you were transported in a police car, 10) whether you were told you were under arrest, and 11) 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. Six to ten armed officers had 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 and transported in a police car, although this was not necessary to ensure 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 are charged with a criminal offense, 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 failed to read your Miranda warnings, an attorney may petition the court to dismiss the evidence against you. Even if 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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