A review of new criminal laws that took effect in 2016, Part 1

States regularly update their laws. Illinois is no exception. Last year, Illinois passed several laws that came into force in 2016. This post will go over some of these laws and how they may affect you.

Illinois passed several police reform statutes. Officers are now required to wear body cameras if their department chooses to participate in the body camera program. If officers do wear body cameras, they must keep their cameras on while conducting law enforcement activities. Police officers are permitted to shut off the cameras when conferring with a confidential informant or at the request of a victim. All recorded videos are retained for 90 days unless it is noted for a particular reason.

Police officers are prohibited from using chokeholds on suspects except where deadly force is justified. Furthermore, the reforms now require an independent review of deaths involving police officers and make the results of the investigation public record.

The law also expands the factors that judges may consider during sentencing to include domestic violence history. Sentencing factors are the facts that the court considers when determining a sentence. Contrary to popular belief, judges, not juries, set the sentence for defendants. Juries may recommend a sentence, but it is up to the judge to set it.

Criminal charges are serious. If you were arrested or charged, you should consult with a defense attorney as soon as possible. As you can see, Illinois is constantly reviewing and updating its criminal statutes. You don’t want to run the risk of under-estimating the law simply because it could have been updated. A lawyer can watch your back and help ensure that you are treated fairly by the justice system.