How to React if You are Arrested in Chicagoland

Most law enforcement agencies in this area practice high-profile deterrent policing, especially in areas known for heavy criminal activity. Patrol officers are under intense pressure to make as many arrests as possible because, just like the number of sales is an effective way to evaluate car salespeople, many believe that the number of arrests is the only effective way to evaluate police officers.

So, as criminal defense attorneys, people often ask us how they should react to an arrest situation, since such situations are so common.

Pre-Arrest Events in Illinois

Most Chicago arrests begin with an offense committed in plain view, and that offense is nearly always a traffic stop. Even the most careful drivers cannot travel more than a mile or two without committing at least one infraction, especially one of the more obscure ones like:

  • Failing to fully stop before exiting a private driveway (almost no one stops when pulling out of the grocery store parking lot if traffic is clear),
  • A rolling right turn,
  • Changing lanes too close to an intersection, and
  • Signaling too close to a lane change.

In most cases, traffic stops are not arrests. Even though most traffic violations are technically arrestable offenses, most officers release these motorists with citations, unless there is cause for additional suspicion.

“Wrong place at the wrong time” arrests are now increasingly common, as well, largely due to the expansion of police powers inherent in Utah v. Strief, a 2016 Supreme Court decision. If a person ventures too close to an area of criminal activity, such as a suspected drug house, and behaves in any way that is remotely suspicious, Chicago police officers usually detain the person. The same thing could happen if a person loiters on a street corner known for gang activity.

There are a few other arrestable situations, such as if the officer has probable cause that you have committed a felony or most incidents of domestic violence.

Some Arrest and Post-Arrest Events

In most cases, you must answer basic name and address questions. The same thing applies at DUI roadblocks, where drivers have an obligation to present a driver’s license, proof of insurance, and proof of registration. Beyond that, you have a right to refuse to answer questions. At the same time, the officer must tell you why you were detained.

Even when asserting your rights, deference is the order of the day. You will always lose an argument with a police officer, and if you antagonize the officer, s/he will most likely bring additional charges against you.

Many people also ask if they can record police activity on their smartphone cameras. The Seventh Circuit, which includes Illinois, has ruled that people have a First Amendment right to record police activity, so such conduct is legal in Chicagoland. However, things get a little grey if the officer says that such activity constitutes interference with police business and asks you to turn off the camera. If you continue to film in that situation, you will most likely be arrested but will also likely get the charges thrown out later.

Reach Out to Experienced Lawyers

Do not be afraid to boldly assert your rights during an arrest, but do not antagonize officers in so doing. For a confidential consultation with an experienced criminal law attorney in Schaumburg, contact Glasgow & Olsson.

(image courtesy of Daniel Monteiro)

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