The prosecution of cyberbullying has been a challenge for states looking to protect minors from harassment. A new Illinois bill, introduced by Republican Representative Terry Bryant, provides that those who post videos of fights online with the intent to condone or promote violence could be charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. One obstacle of the proposal is proving intent of those who post the videos. Another concern is the unconstitutionality of such a law; mainly, infringement on the right to free speech.

The proposal stems from a video that Representative Bryant saw on Facebook, showing two young boys fighting, with their classmates watching and recording without anyone calling for help.

Social media and the advancement of technology have posed major issues for lawmakers trying to keep up. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, only half of the anti-bullying laws across the country address cyberbullying. Other than infringement of free speech, there are additional concerns of over-criminalizing teenage behavior.

Illinois bill would criminalize filming fights to put online, February 9, 2016, Chicago Tribune

Illinois Bill Would Criminalize Filming Fights to Put Online, February, 9, 2016, Northern Public Radio

Effective today, January 1st, 2016, new DUI laws go into effect which benefit revoked and suspended drivers who want to seek driving privileges before the Illinois Secretary of State. One of these significant changes in the law will allow drivers with a lifetime ban on driving the opportunity to apply for driving relief.

Attorney Larry A. Davis, principle of The Davis Law Group, P.C. assisted in the drafting of these new laws and represented the Illinois State Bar Association in securing their passage.

Contact The Davis Law Group, P.C. if you would like a consultation or further information on these important changes in the laws.

Yesterday the Chicago Tribune highlighted a new law effective January 1, 2016, which will expand the number of DUI revoked and suspended drivers who will now be eligible for driving privileges in Illinois. The law will allow the following categories of drivers to obtain driving privileges who previously could not: first offenders needing driving privileges during the first 30-days of the DUI statutory summary suspension; second offenders during the 1-year or 3-year DUI statutory summary suspension; and persons with multiple DUI convictions (who currently cannot obtain privileges during the first year of revocation).

A first offender is an individual without a prior DUI disposition within 5 years prior to the current DUI arrest. A second offender is an individual with a prior DUI disposition within 5 years prior to the current DUI arrest.

The law also expands the groups of persons required to have Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (“BAIID devices”) installed in their vehicles to include DUI involving a fatality or serious bodily injury and individuals who have had a prior DUI statutory summary suspension anytime in their lives.

This law was the result of negotiations between the Illinois State Bar Association (“ISBA”), the Illinois Secretary of State’s office and grass-root advocacy groups. Attorney Larry A. Davis of The Davis Law Group, P.C. led negotiations on behalf of the ISBA.

New DUI law lets arrestees drive — with an alcohol detection device, www.chicagotribune.com, December, 27, 2015

Comprehensive guidelines for the use of police body cameras are among the several important provisions of Public Act 99-0352, effective January 1, 2016. While the new law will not require body cameras, it creates a policy for their use. The bill aims to also protect privacy by providing for times where officers do not need to use the cameras.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that only certain types of recordings can be disclosed when a FOIA request is made. These recordings include but are not limited to when a firearm is discharged by and officer or when someone is seriously injured or killed.

The hope is that the expanded use of body cameras will improve the behavior of police officers and citizens while also increasing transparency. The State will help fund the body cameras through a $5 increase in traffic tickets. It is estimated that the body cameras will cost $5.6 million over two years.

Other provisions in the bill include requiring annual in-service training for police officers to ensure officers are prepared for different scenarios. Also, the bill allows for compilation of data regarding stop and frisk interactions to learn what groups are being stopped. Officers will also be required to give a receipt to citizens who they stop and frisk. Banning chokeholds and clarification that citizens can film police officers are also among the provisions.

Illinois officials seek company to supply body cameras, www.fox32chicago.com, November 19, 2015

Pacesetting police body camera law takes effect January 1, www.isba.org, December 2015

The City of Chicago is rolling out an amnesty program for old parking tickets, red light tickets, back taxes and building code violations. Penalty and collection costs will be waived for eligible tickets. The program begins November 15, 2015 and runs through the end of the year. The program applies to tickets issued prior to January 1, 2012, which are not currently enrolled in a payment plan or part of pending legal activity with the City of Chicago.

To search for outstanding tickets, you may visit www.cityofchicago.org/finance and click “Search for Tickets” or call the City at (312) 744-7275. All eligible tickets must be paid in full by December 31, 2015 to receive the reduction. Any eligible tickets not paid by the deadline will revert to the original amount due.

Chicago amnesty on penalties for old tickets, other debt to start Sunday, www.chicagotribune.com, November 10, 2015

An article in this month’s Illinois Bar Journal highlights the legislative accomplishments of the Traffic Laws Section of the Illinois State Bar Association. The Traffic Laws Section, including attorney Larry A. Davis, assisted in advancing several key pieces of DUI-related legislation this year. The article, written by Ed Finkel, discusses the changes to the lifetime revocation law and removal of ‘hard times’ related to MDDPs/DUI Statutory Summary Suspensions as well as Restricted Driving Permits (RDPs). The article also explains the desired reforms to the marijuana ‘trace’ law related to DUI, which was amendatorily vetoed by Governor Rauner.

A link to the full article is available here: Keeping the Road Safe and the Law Sane

On January 1, 2016, significant changes to Illinois DUI law will become effective. These changes to the lifetime revocation laws, RDP/MDDP laws, and BAIID Requirements have been described as the biggest reforms to DUI law in a decade.

Attorney Samuel Partida, Jr. invited Larry Davis to come onto his podcast to discuss these major changes in DUI law. Full audio of the interview is available at the link below:

Podcast available here!

On August 26, 2015, Public Act 099-0467, eliminating statutory hard times, was signed into law by Governor Rauner. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. John D’Amico and will become effective January 1, 2016.

The legislation eliminates all ‘hard times’ under current law. Simply put, these are statutory periods during which a driver could not obtain relief from certain periods of a statutory summary suspension (‘SSS’) or DUI revocation. This includes:

1. First offender SSS – Drivers will be eligible for a Monitored Device Driving Permit (MDDP) from day 1 of the suspension (currently cannot obtain a permit until the 31st day of the SSS);

2. Second offender SSS – Drivers will be eligible to apply for a Restricted Driving Permit (RDP) from day 1 of the suspension (currently cannot obtain any driving privileges during the entire length of the suspension – generally ranging from a period of 1-3 years). Additionally, drivers with extensions of these suspensions due to convictions for driving while suspended will also be able to apply for a RDP (currently not eligible to apply);

3. Individuals with 5-year and 10-year revocations will now be able to apply for a RDP from day 1 of the revocation (currently unable to apply for the first year of the revocation);

Attorney Larry A. Davis assisted in drafting the legislation.

On August 6, 2015, Public Act 099-0290, changing the lifetime revocation law, was signed into law by the Governor Rauner. The legislation was sponsored by Rep. Elaine Nekritz.

Previously, Illinois law prohibited anyone with 4 or more DUI convictions from obtaining driving privileges (with the last arrest occurring on or after 1/1/99). This meant that if you had been convicted of driving under the influence 4 or more times, the Illinois Secretary of State imposed a lifetime revocation of your driving privileges.

Illinois law now allows these individuals to apply for a restricted driving permit (i.e. work permit) through an administrative hearing with the Secretary of State under certain limited conditions. These individuals are eligible to apply for driving relief after a five-year period from the later of the date of the last order of revocation or release from incarceration. The person must have three-years of abstinence, complete all required treatment and otherwise meet all requirements set forth by the Secretary of State. The law does not allow full reinstatement for Illinois residents.

Out-of-state residents are able to apply for full reinstatement after a period of ten years from the date of the last order of revocation. Of course, there are additional requirements that must be met.

On behalf of the Illinois State Bar Association, Attorney Larry A. Davis drafted the legislation and led negotiations to allow persons who have rehabilitated their lives to finally apply for driving relief.

Rauner signs bill to let four-time DUI offenders get restricted permit, www.chicagotribune.com, August 6, 2015

Federal officials have announced a new technology that they say could put an end to DUIs. The technology would automatically register the level of alcohol in the bloodstream of the driver, either by a passive set of breath sensors or touch sensitive contact-points on a starter button or gear-shift. It would prevent a driver from starting their car if the blood-alcohol content is above the legal limit. The technology is expected to start appearing in cars in five to eight years but the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said he would like to see the technology in use even sooner.

It has not been determined whether there will be a federal mandate for the devices in all new vehicles and the estimated cost per vehicle is about $150-$200. Researchers are working on how to package the technology for the passive set of sensors inside the car. They have figured out how to package the touch sensitive contact points and are now working to ensure accuracy. It is expected that touch-based sensors would be put into production sooner than the passive set of breath sensors.

New technology could put an end to drunken driving, officials say, June 4, 2015, www.washingtonpost.com