2018 is now officially well underway. January 1st brought a new year, new hopes, and new laws. A wide variety of regulations came into effect once the clock struck midnight. We want to help break them down for you.
Sexner & Associates, LLC has an experienced team of Chicago traffic violation attorneys and criminal defense attorneys. If you have violated any of these laws, give us a call. Until then, keep reading for a handy guide on the most recent legal developments.
New Criminal Laws
Illinois has expanded the definition of the term hate crime. For a long time, our state’s prejudice-motivated crimes did not extend into the digital realm. Now, after Public Act 100-0917 is officially part of our codex, it is a crime to intimidate, stalk, or cyber stalk someone. Sending someone an offensive message via text, a messenger app, or a social media site may be a felony, depending on certain circumstances. Civil penalties, such as fines, may also be handed down.
In addition, crimes committed at mosques, churches, synagogues, or other places of worship could be considered hate crimes. Public Act 100-0260 was signed due to an increase in vandalism at religious facilities across our state. Committing this crime is a Class 3 Felony, which can carry a prison sentence of 2 to 5 years.
While this is not technically part of criminal law, this falls under the general umbrella. Public Act 100-0247, otherwise known as Sam’s Act, mandates that law enforcement officers take courses on mental health issues and mental health awareness. This may mean that the police handle people with mental illnesses in a better way. The law is meant to help police de-escalate difficult situations.
Public Act 100-0149 indicates that Illinois is cracking down further on DUIs. If someone drives on a suspended or revoked license when the underlying basis is an aggravated DUI in which someone was killed in the course of a reckless homicide case, punishments for these cases are now far more stringent.
Finally, Public Act 100-0460 explicitly forbids defendants from trying to reduce their sentence using what is colloquially known as the ‘gay panic’ defense. Some people have testified that upon learning that the victim was gay, they were overwhelmed by passion and could not stop themselves from murdering another. This is now against the law. As part of this, hearing that someone is of a different sexual orientation no longer qualifies as legitimate provocation for second-degree murder.
New Traffic Laws
Public Act 100-0436 has banned the practice of test-driving a vehicle while a ‘For Sale’ or ‘For Lease’ sign is displayed on a window. This law was passed in response to the death of Brendan Burke. The young man passed on because the other driver’s vision was obscured due to decals and paperwork. Politicians proposed this rule to help make the roads less hazardous.
In an effort to promote safe practices for both drivers and cyclists, the state of Illinois passed Public Act 100-0359. Those who ride their bicycles may now use the road’s shoulder, and motorists can pass cyclists in no-passing zones. When passing, drivers are allowed to cross into the oncoming lane when the bicyclist is riding at less than half the speed limit. That is to say when the driver has sufficient space and time to do so, of course. Now, cyclists may use rear red tail lights instead of a standard reflector, too.
If you have any questions about criminal or traffic laws, call the experienced team at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC today. We advise everyone to stay up to date, and make sure they are following all laws at all times. Should you run into some trouble, however, our attorneys can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.