2018 sees changes to criminal laws in Illinois

The criminal justice system often sees changes that impact laws, regulations, procedures and other areas that may affect people and policies. It can be difficult to keep up with the changes, and if you are facing criminal charges, you may wonder if any recent modifications could impact your particular case. Because having the right information could allow you to determine your best courses of legal action, you may wish to work toward ensuring that you have applicable knowledge.

With the start of the New Year, many people try to make changes, and this year, Illinois state legislators were no different. Numerous law changes will go into effect in 2018, and several of those alterations will impact certain aspects of the criminal justice system.

Prominent changes

The changes to criminal law being enacted have been met with some criticism, but they are nonetheless now applicable. Therefore, understanding the following changes may prove useful to you, other state residents and visitors:

  • Hate crimes: One of the changes addresses what actions the court will now consider hate crimes. For instance, any criminal activity that occurs at places of worship, such as churches or mosques, can now be looked at as hate crimes. Additionally, other actions, such as cyberstalking and the sending of vulgar messages, may also constitute hate crimes, depending on the specific circumstances.
  • Gun crimes: Under previous regulations, repeat gun-crime offenders could face anywhere from three to 14 years in prison if convicted. The new laws dictate that the minimum part of that range will increase to seven years, and the maximum will remain at 14.
  • Murder: In relation to murder charges, changes revoke the ability of defendants to claim “gay panic” as part of their defense in hopes of reducing potential sentences. Additionally, individuals can no longer claim that sexual orientation provoked second-degree murder.

Other changes to state laws have also occurred, and staying updated may prove useful if you must combat criminal allegations.

Obtaining reliable information

Because laws and modifications to laws can be complicated to understand and keep up with, you may feel as if a lack of knowledge could hold you back when it comes to creating and presenting a criminal defense. Luckily, if you wish, you can seek professional assistance and reliable information from local legal resources to better ensure that you understand allegations and your defense options.