The Difference Between Resisting Arrest and Obstruction of Justice
When law enforcement officials are investigating a crime or pursuing a suspect, they tend to expect complete cooperation from those they detain and/or question during the course of that investigation. When someone attempts to repel police orders or questions, whether by physical force, being misleading, or withholding information, they could very easily find themselves facing charges of obstructing justice or resisting arrest .
Actions (and Words) Have Consequences
While it is up to the prosecution to prove charges of resisting arrest or obstruction of justice, a conviction on either charge can have serious repercussions for the defendant. Knowing the difference between the charges and working with an attorney who has experience defending against criminal charges can help a person avoid severe punishment. These charges differ in the following ways:
• Resisting arrest generally is applied when a person applies some sort of physical force in attempting to avoid being detained by police. Whether a person runs away, pushes or bumps an officer, or even simply pulls their arm away when grabbed by an officer, any of these actions can result in a charge of resisting arrest.
• A charge of obstruction of justice is applied if law enforcement officials believe a person lied, misled, or omitted information when questioned during the course of an investigation. It is not uncommon for a charge to occur when a person tries to help or protect a friend from getting into trouble. Unfortunately, those good intentions can have very negative consequences.
In Illinois, if a defendant is found guilty of either charge, they will receive an automatic conviction without the opportunity for supervision or some other diversionary recourse.
Recently, critics have come out in protest of police who, they say, are abusing their power in charging individuals with these crimes. Some say these charges are used to lend added legitimacy to arrests in certain situations, further emphasizing the importance of retaining experienced legal counsel.
Trust Your Future to an Experienced Will County Criminal Defense Attorney
Although they do not sound serious, charges of resisting arrest and obstruction of justice carry very serious penalties in the event of a conviction. Leaving your defense to an inexperienced attorney could make a bad situation much worse. It is important to retain a knowledgeable attorney who understands the seriousness of the situation and possesses the experience to present an aggressive and effective defense on your behalf. The legal team at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba will conduct a meticulous and thorough review of your case to ensure the best defense strategy possible is employed. Contact our Joliet criminal defense attorney by calling 815-740-4025 to schedule a free initial consultation.