Criminal Defense-Related Laws Are Changing in 2017

Illinois law is constantly changing, and the year 2017 has brought quite a few changes to criminal law.   If you have been arrested and accused of a crime, you should be aware of the changes, as they may directly affect your defense case and should be discussed with the attorney who is helping you fight for freedom.

The experienced and seasoned Illinois criminal law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., understand the seriousness of your situation and offer aggressive representation for clients facing criminal charges. We know the courts and the criminal justice system and how to plea bargain, negotiate guidelines and recognize when to take your case to trial. When we take on a criminal case, we gather information quickly and look at all viable defense options. Based on the facts, we make a decision about the best legal strategy.  We know the changes to the law, and will do everything possible to vigorously fight for you and defend your rights.

We offer a free initial consultation.  If you have been accused of any criminal charges, get help today by calling 630-305-0222 and 312-388-7882.

The New Law Changes

The following are some of the new law changes that may affect criminal charges:

Felony Changes

  • Rental Equipment. It is now a felony to fail to return rental equipment worth more than $500 within three days of your rental period. (SB 1120)
  • Property Damage: The threshold for property damage to be charged as a felony is now $500, an increase from $300. (SB 29070)
  • Vehicular Endangerment. If an object is intentionally dropped from an overpass onto a moving vehicle, it is now considered vehicular endangerment. (HB 6010)
  • Presumptive Probation. Prison terms for people without priors are changed for conviction of a Class 3 or 4 felony. (SB 3164/PA 99-0861)
  • Accelerated Resolution Program. Traffic offenses and class 4 felony violations of the Controlled Substances Act are added to the Accelerated Resolution Program. (HB 6190)

Sentencing Changes

  • Guilty Pleas. Guilty pleas shall not be accepted until the court explains maximum and minimum penalties; possible increased sentence for prior conviction or future conviction and consecutive sentences; any registration requirement and restrictions; and the consequences of the plea on ability to apply for housing, obtain a job, obtain a driver’s license, or possess a firearm. (HB 2569/PA 99-0871)
  • Mandatory Sentences for Sex Crimes. Limits life sentencing for certain sexual assault offenses to only people age 18 or older at the time of the offense. (HB 5771)

Substance Abuse Law Changes

  • Substance Abuse Programs. Licensed substance abuse programs must provide information about opioid treatment. (HB 5593)
  • Court Ordered Drug Treatment. Defendants must participate in drug treatment under the care of a licensed physician if they are substance abusers. (HB 5594)
  • Disposal of Medications. At a crime scene, police officers and coroners can dispose of unused meds after consulting with law enforcement about the death. Medication must be kept if an autopsy is needed for toxicological analysis. (HB 5781)

Arrest Reporting Changes

  • The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority must report how many people are arrested and released without being charged and their racial and ethnic composition. (HB 1437/PA 99-0666)

Bail Law Changes

  • Police must accept cash for bail. (SB 2252)

Changes to Juvenile Law

  • Juvenile Offense Reduction (SB 2777/PA 99-0628). Minors cannot be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) facilities for crimes that are not felonies or for certain non-violent felonies.
  • Child Victim Battery Testimony (SB 2880/PA 99-0630). Allows remote CCTV testimony for minors and persons with disabilities in criminal sex assault cases.
  • Controlled Substance Violations. Minors cannot be committed to the DJJ for certain controlled substance violations unless it is the third or subsequent probation violation. (HB 6291)
  • Juvenile Sexual Assault. Certain mandatory natural life sentencing provisions for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and predatory criminal sexual assault of a child apply only to persons at least 18 years old at the time of the offense. (HB 5771/PA 99-0875)
  • Representation During Interrogation. Minors under 15 who are charged with murder or sexual assault must have representation of counsel during an interrogation. (SB 2370/PA 99-0882)
  • Juvenile Record Expungement. People can petition for expungement of juvenile records at any time, and the court must automatically grant the request if the person was never charged, if the charges were dismissed, if the person was not found delinquent and if the supervision was completed successfully, or if the offense (if committed by an adult) would have been a Class B or C misdemeanor or a petty or business offense. (HB 5017 PA 99-0835)
  • Case plans.  Requires case plans to be filed every 6 months after a minor has been appointed to a guardian; requires IDJJ to notify the court within 10 days of a critical incident involving a youth committed to the department. (HB 0114/PA 99-0664).

Changes to Requirements for Professional Licenses

  • Denial of Licenses. Professional licenses cannot be denied for an applicant’s criminal record unless the crime is directly related to the licensed occupation. (HB 5973)
  • Reinstatement for Health Care Workers. Health care workers can petition to have their licenses reinstated for certain non-sexual non-violent felonies that occurred 5 years ago. (SB 0042)
  • Health Care Worker Registry.  Health care companies can hire people convicted of certain crimes with a waiver from the Department of Public Health. (HB 4515/PA 99-0872)

Changes to Expungement Law

  • Increased Opportunity for Expungement.People with previous convictions can petition to have arrest records that didn’t result in conviction expunged. (HB 6328/PA 99-0881)

Put Your Trust In Us — Contact Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. for a Free Consultation.

Whether or not you are affected by the new laws, when you are accused of a crime in Illinois, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can find.  Your case may seem impossible, but with skillful representation you have a chance. Remember, the law places a heavy burden on the government, and you have to be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense.  We examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available, and work hand in hand with our clients throughout the criminal process. We explain all elements and processes of the case and develop an effective defense strategy. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties and rights.

Don’t delay — contact us for help today if you have been accused of any criminal charges —  630-305-0222 or 312-388-7882. We represent clients in DuPage County, Cook County, Will County, Naperville, Aurora, Wheaton, Downers Grove, Bolingbrook, and the Greater Chicagoland area in Illinois.