Several Important New Laws in Illinois in Effect as of January 2018
In 2017, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law some 200 bills passed by the Illinois state legislature, some of which could have a serious impact on your life. Read on to learn about several of the most important new criminal laws that have gone into effect as of the beginning of 2018, and speak with an experienced Homewood criminal defense attorney with any questions you may have.
Harsher penalties for gun trafficking
Gov. Rauner signed a bill on August 23, 2017 which increases the penalties for persons charged with gun trafficking in Illinois. The law targets guns purchased outside of Illinois and brought into the state. Specifically, persons who don’t possess a valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card who knowingly bring a gun or ammunition into Illinois with the purpose of selling, delivering, or transferring the gun to someone else can now be convicted of a Class 1 felony charge of firearms trafficking. A person convicted of firearms trafficking will now face a minimum sentence of four years in prison and a maximum 20-year sentence.
If someone convicted of firearms trafficking has been previously convicted of trafficking in firearms or a crime related to it, either in Illinois or another state, they will be charged with a Class X felony. A person convicted of a Class X felony would be required to face prison time and cannot be sentenced to probation. The minimum prison sentence for a Class X felony is six years, and the maximum sentence is 30 years.
Important changes to asset forfeiture and DUI laws
Another important change to the laws of Illinois is in how certain DUI charges may be prosecuted. There is no longer a statute of limitations on a charge of aggravated DUI resulting in death. In other words, no matter how long ago the alleged fatal DUI occurred, prosecutors can file charges against the person they believe to be guilty of the crime. Few criminal charges lack a statute of limitations, since witness’ memories and other evidence decay over time, and accurately proving these crimes occurred (or defending against charges) can become complex.
Illinois has also introduced changes to the process by which law enforcement may seize property they believe to have been connected to a crime, known as civil asset forfeiture. Previously, the person being subjected to the forfeiture was required to prove that they were entitled to retain the property, often having to pay a steep fine simply to have a judge hear their case as to why they are entitled to retain the property. Now, law enforcement must prove that they are entitled to take it.
If you’ve been arrested in the Chicago area or are facing charges in the Bridgeview Courthouse or Markham Courthouse and need dedicated and aggressive legal representation, contact the seasoned Homewood criminal defense attorney John Fairman for a free consultation at 708-799-4848, or in Bridgeview at 708-960-4806.