What You Need to Know About Arrests in Illinois

arrests in Illinois, Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneyWhile most law-abiding citizens do not ever intend on being arrested, unfortunate situations do sometimes arise that lead to an arrest. Whether you participate in criminal activity or not, it is vital for you to understand the arrest process in Illinois, your rights, and how to handle yourself.

The state of Illinois has an arrest procedure that must be followed by any police officer or law enforcement agent, and failure to follow each step of this procedure could lead to your immediate release. Therefore, understanding your rights and how the process works is crucial. If you are an Illinois citizen, here is what you need to know about being arrested.

Who Can Arrest Me?

In Illinois, an arrest can be made by any law enforcement official with a warrant, and in certain circumstances, without a warrant. This includes sheriffs, police officers, and state troopers. In most cases, a warrant is used to make an arrest.

When a complaint is made against someone—accusing him or her of a criminal act—an Illinois judge or magistrate can issue a warrant, which is an official document that describes the potential criminal and the charges against the individual. Law enforcement officers within the state then have authorization to arrest that person. In some cases, a private individual may also be given approval to arrest the person named on the warrant.

There are cases where having a warrant is not necessary for a law enforcement official to make an arrest. If you are being placed under arrest, a warrant must exist for your arrest unless:

  • You have committed a crime or are in the process of committing a crime and an officer witnesses the act;
  • A law enforcement agent has reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has been committed, and that you committed the crime; or
  • An officer has grounds to believe that a warrant for your arrest has been issued, be it in the state of Illinois or another jurisdiction.

In addition to law enforcement officials, citizens in Illinois are also able to make arrests under specific circumstances. If a citizen witnesses a person committing a crime, other than an ordinance violation, he or she can legally detain that person. To make a citizen’s arrest, the accused needs simply to be prevented from leaving until an official law enforcement agent arrives. In most cases, the citizen making the arrest will state something to the effect of, “Stop. I am placing you under arrest and holding you for the police.”

Does the Constitution Protect Me If I Am Arrested?

The Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments of the “Bill of Rights,” found within the United States Constitution, detail the rights of any United States citizen under arrest. These include the following:

  • “No person…shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law…” (Fifth Amendment)
  • “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” (Sixth Amendment)
  • “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel and unusual punishments be inflicted.” (Eighth Amendment)

The late addition of the Fourteenth Amendment also requires that individual states guarantee these rights to their citizens. The Amendment states, “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the United States…”

In Illinois, much of what is found in the “Bill of Rights” of the U.S. Constitution also appears in the Illinois Constitution.

What Rights Do I Need to Know After I am Arrested?

There are several important rights provided to every United States citizen that are vital to remember if you are placed under arrest. If any of these rights are not provided to you, you may be able to get the case against you dropped. While being placed under arrest can be a stressful and chaotic situation, it is extremely important to remember the following:

  • You have the right to remain silent, as detailed in the United States Constitution;
  • Anything you say can and very well may be held against you;
  • You have the right to legal counsel. If you are unable to afford hiring an attorney, one will be provided for you; and
  • You may have an attorney present at the time of your interrogation.

The 1966 Supreme Court ruling on the Miranda V. Arizona case requires that law enforcement officers must inform arrestees of their constitutional rights, and failure to do so means that any evidence found during initial interviews and interrogations cannot be used against them.

On top of immediately informing the arrestee of his or her rights, law enforcement must respect those rights throughout the entire process. This means that you can not be legally required to talk to an officer or anyone else, you are not required to answer any questions, and you cannot be forced to sign any papers. If any threats are made against, or persistent questioning causes you to provide incriminating evidence against yourself, you can prevent that information from being used against you, provided you understand your rights.

During your detention, you have the right to make a reasonable number of phone calls, typically to an attorney and to a family member. Anytime you are transferred to a different holding location, that right is renewed and you are eligible to make additional phone calls.

For those who are not United States citizens, you must be informed that you may contact your embassy or local consulate. Additionally, consular officials are allowed to visit you while being detained and help you communicate your situation to your family and access legal representation.

Legally, you may be held for a reasonable amount of time, typically long enough for administrative tasks to be taken care of. These tasks can include fingerprinting, searches of personal property, basic questioning (name, address, Social Security number) and searches for further warrants out in your name. This length of the period you are held depends on your specific case. However, as a general rule of thumb, detention should not go beyond a reasonable time period, typically a few hours or overnight.

If you are held for an unnecessary amount of time, your attorney may go to a judge and obtain a writ of habeas corpus. A writ of habeas corpus is a court order mandating that police bring you to court so a judge may decide if you are being held lawfully or not.

After you have been arrested, detained, and have had your case reviewed by law enforcement officials, one of a few scenarios may occur. You may be released with no official charges, you may be charged, or a law enforcement official may call on the state’s prosecutor to review the case and potentially file charges in the future. If you are formally charged, you have the right to know the nature of the offense for which you are being accused.

Understanding Bail

If you are formally charged, you have the right to apply for and post bail. Bail is essentially a security deposit that you pay to the court as a sign of good faith that you will appear for your trial. The amount of bail required will be set by the court, and bail should be provided even in cases involving serious charges like murder, unless the evidence significantly shows that the person is guilty of the crime. In Illinois, you may be released if you pay 10 percent of your bail amount. The amount of your bail must be stated on your arrest warrant.

What Not to Do While Being Arrested

For most people, an arrest is an uncomfortable situation. Therefore, it is important to remain level headed and to not let your emotions get the best of you. For your safety, do not resist arrest, even if you are completely innocent. Even if you are innocent, an officer is still within his or her legal rights to arrest you if he or she has reasonable cause to suspect you of a crime and have followed Illinois’ arrest requirements. If you resist, even while innocent, you may be charged with resisting arrest.

If the arrest is made illegally, do not resist, but keep in mind that you are eligible to take legal action against the officer. If you are placed under citizens arrest, you may resist, though it may be in your best interest not to. Legally, there is nothing that says you cannot resist citizens arrest, though if you harm or injure the citizen making the arrest in any way, you may be found guilty of assault and battery. Additionally, anyone making a citizen’s arrest cannot be held responsible of a false arrest, provided they had reasonable ground for believing a crime had taken place.

As you can see, there is a lot of important information to remember if you are ever arrested. The best thing you can do for yourself at the time of arrest is to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney who can remind you of your rights, and can help you through every step of the process.

If you live in the Chicago area, the skilled criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney are available to help you today. With years of combined experience, our team is equipped to handle even the most serious of criminal cases. Call 312-270-0999 or visit us online to learn more about our services and to schedule your free consultation with a qualified Chicago criminal defense attorney today.

Sources:

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_related_education_network/how_courts_work/pretrial_appearances.html

http://www.icjia.state.il.us/assets/pdf/ResearchReports/Policies_and_Procedures_of_the_Illinois_Criminal_Justice_System_Aug2012.pdf

http://www.illinoislawyerfinder.com/sites/default/files/pamphlets/consumer/Your%20Rights%20If%20Arrested.pdf

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