A number of new laws went into effect on July 1, and a few of them impact criminal law proceedings in Illinois. A few of them increase the penalties that you could face for certain driving offenses, while others bring welcome change to a system that could disproportionately affect those who are financially burdened by a citation. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the new laws that went into effect and how they could impact you in the future.
New Laws To Know In Illinois
Here’s a look at some of the new laws and changes that went into effect on July 1 in Illinois.
- Texting and Driving Penalties Increase – Public Act 101-90 increases the penalties for anyone who causes an accident with injury because they were texting and driving. Any driver who causes great bodily harm, permanent disability or disfigurement to another person due to being distracted by a cell phone will face a 12-month driver’s license suspension and a minimum fine of $1,000. Under the old law, the distracted party was only subject to a $75 fine.
- Right-of-Way Injury Penalties Increase – A similar measure was enacted for someone who causes injury to another person as a result of a right-of-way violation. Any party that causes serious injury to a pedestrian at a crosswalk or in a school zone as a result of a right-of-way violation will have their driver’s license suspended for 12 months. The new law is known as Mason’s Law, and it is named for 24-year-old Mason Knorr, who was killed when a truck driver failed to yield the right of way as Mason entered a crosswalk. Under the old law, the violator was only subjected to a small fine.
- Unpaid Fines No Longer Mean License Suspension – Unpaid traffic tickets and fines can spiral out of control quickly, especially if you are struggling to come up with the money. Not only can fines increase if they are overdue, but under the old law, it could also lead to the suspension of your driver’s license, which will only make it more difficult for you to work and come up with the necessary funds. Under the new law, the Illinois secretary of state will no longer be able to suspend a person’s driver’s license or vehicle registration for being unable to pay a fine on time.
- Employee Discrimination Protection – The final change that impacts criminal law is one that provides more protections for employees from discrimination. Under the new change, employees will be protected from discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion and other protected categories. Previously, these same protections were in place, but they only applied to businesses that employed 15 or more individuals. Now, it will apply to any company that employs one or more individuals for more than 20 weeks in a calendar year.
For more information about these changes, or if you are facing upgraded potential penalties because of a violation, reach out to Brett and the team at Appelman Lawyers today for all your legal needs.