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New 2017 Illinois Laws

Surprising New 2017 Illinois Laws

The new year brought many new 2017 Illinois laws into effect for renters, motorists, practitioners and those with criminal records. Here’s a wrap up of some of them.

New 2017 Illinois Laws  For Renters and Motorists  

Senate Bill 1120 applies to those who rent property or equipment more than $500 in value (ex. vehicles, equipment, etc.) and fail to return it. The bill is now part of the criminal code and classifies the action as a Class 4 felony. However, the prosecutors can amend these felonies to misdemeanor charges in negotiations with defense counsel, where appropriate.

Illinois House Bill 6010 refers to the recoding of the vehicular endangerment charge, which is dropping objects from overpasses or other elevated locations with the intent to strike a travelling motor vehicle. The offense is now reclassified from the vehicle code to the criminal code and considered a Class 2 felony unless death results, in which case it can be charged as a Class 1 felony.

Illinois House Bill 2806  increases fines for motorists who do not stop within 50 feet (and no less than 15 feet) from a railroad grade crossing. The fine for the petty offense has been raised from $250 to $500 for a first violation and from $500 to $1,000 for a second one.

 Illinois House Bill 6006 mandates that drivers approaching a disabled vehicle on a 4-lane highway (with two lanes proceeding in the same direction) shall make all reasonable efforts to change lanes or reduce their speed. Violation is subject to a $100 fine.

New 2017 Illinois Laws Affecting Those with Criminal Records

Illinois House Bill 6331  amends the Firearm Owners Identification Card Act. (FOID) This gives the Illinois State Police the authority to revoke a FOID card and notify local law enforcement if the person in possession of or applying for the card is the subject of an order of protection or a stalking, or no contact (restraining) order. As the law is carried out by local law enforcement, the FOID holder has the right to work with legal counsel to obtain a hearing to stop the revocation. In court, the FOID holder can examine evidence regarding their right to possess a firearm. However, a hearing may still result in the judge ruling against the FOID holder and revoking their privileges.

Illinois House Bill 2569 helps those pleading guilty in court to fully understand the ramifications of their plea. According to the new 2017 Illinois law, the court is now required to explain in full detail several conditions regarding the plea in question, including:

  • The maximum and minimum penalties, and how they can be imposed
  • How a plea and resultant conviction will affect the accused if they plead guilty
  • Any necessary registration requirement as a result of pleading guilty (i.e. registering as a sex offender, etc.)
  • The socially relevant consequences that pleading guilty will have on retaining and obtaining housing, employment, loans, educational opportunities and professional licenses, occupational driver’s licenses, FOID cards, and child custody

While these consequences should always be explained by counsel, it is now required to be done by the Court as well. Depending on the Defendant’s circumstances, their background and/or prior convictions, and weight of the evidence alleged against him/her, it may not be in their best interest to go to trial. Instead, it may still be the best option to shoulder any of these undesirable consequences and persist in a plea of guilty.

Illinois House Bill 6328 is good news for people who have had certain past misdemeanor and felony convictions. The new bill loosens restrictions on record expungements and the sealing of conviction sentences. Typically, certain convictions are able to be “sealed”, or withheld from public record, but the impounded file may still be reopened if a Court Order grants access.  Expunging a file both impounds it and makes the record unable to be accessed in the future. The new law permits the expungement and/or sealing of many felony convictions that were previously excluded offenses, after the requisite waiting period is satisfied.  Also, many of the fees for expungement and sealing are now waived if the disposition of the case resulted in a “not guilty” finding or a voluntary dismissal by the prosecution.  In essence, why should the petitioner have to pay a fee to expunge a record bearing charges that were dismissed or where the offender was ultimately acquitted? If you are interested in this service for your own court record, please contact the attorneys at Gardi, Haught, Fischer & Bhosale LTD at 847.944.9400.

Changes in 2017 Illinois Professional Licensing Law

Illinois House Bill 5973 applies to those with licensed occupations, such as nurses, real estate agents, funeral directors, roofers, barbers, cosmetologists and estheticians, and manicurists. The law states that the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation can consider a professional’s prior convictions when determining whether to issue a professional license.  However, if their criminal record is used as a reason for rejecting the issuance of said license, specific requirements must be met. For example, the Department must put their reasons for rejection in writing and give evidence explaining how that conviction is directly related to that person’s selected occupation. Also, the Department should not consider non-conviction dispositions as a basis, or convictions that did not result in incarceration or the ability to serve the public.

There are many new 2017 Illinois laws on the books for 2017. If you should find yourself in need of interpreting any of them or navigating your way through the court system, request a free case evaluation below

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