The answer is not necessarily.

            In Illinois, you resist arrest if you knowingly resist or obstruct someone that you know is an officer, firefighter or correctional institution worker in performing any authorized act within their official capacity. See 720 ILCS 5/31-1.

            But what does “resist ” or “obstruct” mean?  The answer depends on your particular facts, which different judges may view very differently. 

Resisting means more than simply talking back to police or arguing your rights, even if your language is abusive. You must commit a physical act that impedes, hinders, interrupts, prevents or delays the performance of the officer’s duties. Examples include going limp, forcefully resisting arrest or physically helping another avoid arrest. To be convicted, you must physically exert yourself in a way that materially opposes an officer’s attempt to perform a lawful act.

For example, in People v. Sadder-Bey, the defendant was polite, but argumentative and  refused multiple commands to exit his car.  The state argued that this refusal equalled resistance. The court disagreed.  Failing to act on an officer’s orders may be resisting. To reach a criminal level, however, this refusal must usually be combined with other opposition, such as defiantly grabbing the steering wheel when an officer says to get out of the car.

If you are charged with resisting arrest, contact an experienced criminal attorney.  An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense.  “Resisting” may mean different things to different judges. Therefore, it is best to hire an attorney familiar with your courthouse who can present your case in its most favorable light.

            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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