In criminal or traffic law, the outcome of your case often comes down to how your particular judge sees all the facts in your particular situation. One example of this can be found in People v. Hall, which involved obstructing a peace officer.
In that case, an officer had received notice of a possible domestic disturbance or kidnapping. The officer stopped defendant and asked for his identification, which the defendant refused. Officers then questioned a woman in defendant’s car. Defendant swore at police, yelling for them to get away from his car.
To convict under 720 ILCS 5/31-1(a), the State was required to prove that (1) defendant knowingly obstructed a peace officer, (2) the officer was performing an authorized act, and (2) defendant knew the officer was a peace officer. The law’s focus is on the tendency of a defendant’s conduct to create an obstacle that hinders the officer in performing authorized duties.
The State argued that defendant’s actions in failing to obey the officers’ lawful commands went beyond being merely argumentative. Defendant ignored multiple orders to stop his walking towards the vehicle where the possible kidnap victim was located. Thus, the state claimed that these events hindered the officers’ investigation into whether defendant was the person involved in the possible kidnapping.
The trial court found the evidence compelling enough to convict the defendant. However, the appellate court disagreed. While defendant was uncooperative and argumentative, such conduct did not necessarily violate the law. Further, the appellate court did not find that defendant’s refusal to provide identification had hindered the officer’s investigation. Thus, his conviction was reversed.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney who is familiar with your courthouse may be able to present your facts in the light most likely to persuade your particular judge.
If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(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.)