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First time perpetrators of a drug offense in Illinois may be able to catch a break under a change to several Illinois drug-related laws, including the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, and the Unified Code of Corrections.

According to Illinois HB 3010, anyone who has no prior felony offenses in Illinois or any other state may be able to receive sentence of probation. This change, which took effect on January 1, 2014, applies to any felony offense of a controlled substance punishable as a Class 4 felony for which probation is a possible consequence. This includes possession of methamphetamine. Several other crimes may also be permitted to fall under this change, including:

  • Theft punishable as a Class 3 felony by property value;
  • Theft punishable as a Class 4 felony if committed at a school, place of worship, or of government property;
  • Retail theft punishable as a Class 3 felony; and
  • Criminal damage of government property punishable as a Class 4 felony.

Defendants to whom the court grants permission are assigned the second-chance probation, and will have all proceedings against them dismissed upon fulfillment of the terms of their probation. They must also obtain or attempt to obtain employment. Additionally, should the terms of their probation be violated, the court may enter a judgment on its original guilty finding and proceed with further sentencing as permitted by law. Defendants who have been found to have committed a violent crime will also be ineligible for a sentence of second-chance probation.


As technology has become a larger and larger part of our everyday lives, it has led to a serious issue: distracted driving. One of the most common forms of distracted driving results from using electronic cell phones behind the wheel. However, distracted driving can also include messing around with the radio, eating or drinking, or paying more attention to the passengers in your vehicle than on the road.

According to Illinois State Police, distracted driving is a relevant factor in over 1 million auto accidents in North America annually resulting in serious injuries and deaths. Here in Illinois, there are a few different restrictions regarding distracted driving:

  • Ban on all cell phone use for bus drivers;
  • Ban on all cell phone use for beginning drivers;
  • Ban on texting for all drivers;
  • Ban on use of cell phones in school zones/highway construction zones;
  • Handheld ban for all drivers (effective 1/1/14).

Now, some people believe that using hands-free devices, rather than texting or talking on the phone, are the safest option possible, but that is not always the case. Some research has indicated that even having hands-free conversations causes drivers to be cognitively distracted and miss important visual and audio cues on the road that help to avoid crashes. Essentially, it’s best to save your conversation for after your trip.

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