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2016 Criminal Law Changes in Illinois


Experienced Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer

At the beginning of 2016, several amendments were made to existing criminal laws. The Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney can represent you in the face of these changes and provide you with sound legal counsel regarding how they may impact your future. Committed to your best interest and protecting your rights, we stay up-to-date on the laws and statutes that could improve the outcome of your situation and then leverage that knowledge to provide aggressive and effective criminal defense for your criminal case. Get the representation you deserve. Contact our skilled Chicago, Illinois criminal defense lawyers today.

DUI Laws in Cook County

Many changes were made to DUI laws in 2016. One of the most significant was the elimination of the "hard time" laws that had previously prohibited first-, second- and third-time DUI offenders from driving after their conviction - typically one to three years. Now, those with one, two, or three convictions may seek relief through a restricted license. If approved, they must comply with Illinois' breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID) rules and regulations. These changes, which may significantly impact the lives of those charged or convicted of a DUI throughout Chicago and Cook County, are as follows:

  • First-time DUI offenders may now be granted driving privileges from the start of their Summary Suspension (previously had to wait 30 days of "hard time"). Granted by applying through the Secretary of State's Office (SOs), that privilege requires that you follow all BAIID rules. If you are caught driving without your BAIID, it is considered a Class 4 felony.
  • Anyone with two DUI convictions in their lifetime may be granted restricted driving privileges from the start of their Summary Suspension, but they must have a BAIID device installed in their vehicle for five years. Waiting to obtain restricted privileges in years three or four post-conviction will extend the BAIID driving time past the five-year mark.
  • Though not previously required, those convicted of aggravated DUI charges must now follow BAIID rules and regulations to obtain restricted driving privileges.
  • Individuals convicted of four or more DUIs may now apply for driving privileges through the SOS five years after the date of their last order of revocation. The SOS has discretion regarding whether or not to grant the request, but this was not previously an option for those with four or more convictions.

Furthermore, there have been some changes made to traffic laws that may affect those charged with other traffic violations in addition to their DUI. These are as follows:

  • Providing false proof of insurance will now be considered a Class C misdemeanor.
  • Those with aggravated speeding charges are now eligible for supervision, as long as they do not have any similar convictions or supervisions on their previous record.
  • Those charged with DUI traffic offenses (as well as other criminal offenses) may be subject to a $5 increase for every $40 on any imposed fees they incur. A portion of this increase is meant to be spent on new police body cameras and additional training for use of the equipment.

Drug Crimes and Controlled Substances in Illinois

There have also been some important changes to drug-related criminal charges and laws that restrict or prohibit other controlled substances. These changes are as follows:

  • It is now illegal to sell or distribute powdered alcohol. Violation constitutes a Class A misdemeanor charge for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for subsequent violations.
  • Powdered caffeine, and products containing powdered caffeine, may no longer be sold or distributed to minors under the age of 18.
  • Law enforcement now has the power to ban the underlying substance found in synthetic drugs, such as K2, Spice, and Bath Salts.

Expungement and Record Sealing in Chicago and Cook County

A criminal record can greatly impact your life by making it difficult to obtain employment or a place to live, long after you have paid your debt to society. Recent amendments to Illinois laws recognize the difficulties you face and now offer you more ways and opportunities that allow you to seal your criminal record or have it expunged. These changes are as follows:

  • Certain eligible criminal records may now be sealed in two years, instead of three or four. Felony criminal records may also be eligible for sealing after three years, instead of four.
  • Anyone who has earned a high school diploma, GED, vocational technical certification, associate's degree, or another form of advanced education during the period of sentence or mandatory supervised release may petition to have their records sealed prior to the current applicable waiting period.

Contact an Experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you have recently been arrested and are facing criminal charges, contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney. Our Chicago, Illinois criminal defense attorneys are prepared to immediately put our resources and knowledge to work for you and committed to helping you achieve the best outcome possible. Aggressive and assertive, we are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone, email, or facsimile. Contact us at 312-270-0999 to schedule your free initial consultation today. We proudly serve clients in the Chicago, Illinois area and throughout Cook County.


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