As we bring in 2016, it’s important that we stay up to date on current law passages. As of January 1st, 2016 more than 230 new laws will take effect in Illinois. New laws range from police body cameras and misconduct to changes to DUI statutes. For a full list of all the laws that will take effect on January 1st, 2016 click here.
Police Body Cameras – Most interesting is a new law regarding police body cameras. The law does not require that police departments use the body cameras but simply sets structures and rules in place governing the use of the cameras. The law states that the body cameras must remain on while officers are conducting investigations. Police officers/departments that choose to use the body cameras will have to keep them on for the entirety of an investigation. Any officer who turns a camera off during an investigation can be charged with police misconduct. Any criminal or traffic offense that results in a guilty plea or conviction will have an addition $5 fee to allow police departments to pay for the body cameras. That $5 fee will also go towards training programs for officers regarding chokeholds and deadly force.
DUI – We recently wrote about the passage of new vehicle code changes on our blog when Governor Rauner signed them into law. They have since gone into effect. A person who has four or more DUI convictions can now apply for a Restricted Driving Permit five years after the revocation of their license. Previously, a person convicted of four DUIs had little chance of regaining their license. There is also an additional requirement of individuals who have been convicted of two or more DUIs or reckless homicides to install a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device to their vehicle for five years as a condition of a Restricted Driving Permit. This would require these individuals to perform this breathalyzer test each time before starting their car. The system will not allow the car to start if there is alcohol in that persons system. The law also requires individuals who have involved in a DUI resulting in death, great bodily harm, or disability or disfigurement to also install the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device. To view the full details of the new DUI-related Safety Provisions law click here.
Dogs and Sexual Abuse victims – This past summer we wrote a blog about the Humane Care for Animals act that went into effect January 1st. The law makes it a Class A misdemeanor to leave your pet out in extreme heat or cold for any prolonged period of time. We also recently wrote about the passage of a statewide law that allows dogs inside courtrooms as support for children or disabled adults who are victims of sexual abuse. You can check that post out here.
False 9-1-1 calls- If you were ever a fan of “prank calling” as a child, you can now be held financially responsible if you make those calls to emergency 9-1-1 operators. A new law regarding false 9-1-1 calling also went into effect January 1st and requires a person who knowingly makes a false 9-1-1 call where there is no reasonable ground for making said call to pay for the costs of the emergency response or public safety agencies that respond. The law sets the maximum reimbursement at $10,000.
The First Responder Assault Penalties law– This law increases the penalties for assault on a peace officer, fireman, emergency worker, or EMT. This law is related to Scott’s law which also featured changes this year as well. Recycling vehicles will now be included under Scott’s law. Scott’s law, which we recently wrote about on our blog, increases penalties for those who kill or injure a first responder or person who is pulled over on highways or to the side of the road. The law also marks December 23 as Scott’s Law day in order to remind drivers to slow down while in construction and work zones.
Court supervision for speeding – If a person is caught speeding at a rate over 26 miles over the speed limit, (aggravated speeding) they may receive supervision if they have never been convicted of aggravated speeding and have not received supervision as a sentence for any other conviction. If the speeding took place in a construction zone, school zone, or maintenance area the person will not be eligible for supervision. Supervision was previously not allowed as a sentence for aggravated speeding.
Juvenile Justice- A major topic for new laws this year was juvenile justice. There were a few laws that went into effect January 1st that involved major juvenile justice issues. One of these was the ending of mandatory life sentences for minors. Automatic life sentences for minors were previously found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court earlier this year and this law would align the state with the Supreme Court ruling. It will now be up to the discretion of the judge to give a life sentence to a minor. Juveniles will also not be automatically tried as adults which was a previous provision to the Juvenile Court Act of 1987. The age at which a juvenile is automatically tried as an adult also rose to 16 from 15 years old.
Banning of substances- Illinois has banned powdered alcohol and all products that contain powdered alcohol. A person can be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor for a first offense for possessing these products. Any second offense can be charged as a Class 4 felony. Powdered caffeine is now illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess.
As always if you have any questions regarding these new laws, any existing laws, or find yourself under arrest, don’t hesitate to contact us and one of our skilled attorneys will be happy to assist you.