In Illinois, you can be charged with aggravated assault if you knowingly and without authority cause someone that you knew was a police officer performing their official duties to reasonably fear that you were going to cause them bodily harm. To sustain this charge, however, the law generally requires more than words.

To determine whether the officer’s fear is reasonable, the court considers what a reasonable person would normally find frightening. Words alone are generally not enough to prove aggravated assault. There must be some sort of action, such as waiving a tire iron while yelling at an officer or threatening to shoot while holding a gun.

A recent Illinois case held that a defendant’s yelling obscenities and threatening “I’m going to get your ass” while leaving a courthouse was not enough to place an officer in reasonable fear of harm. The court acknowledged that deputies have a difficult job keeping the peace but stated “We cannot find any Illinois cases that would support a conviction because mere words alone without a gesture objectively does not place a person in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery.” (See People v Taylor.)

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case to assist you in presenting your best possible defense.

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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