New Law for 2014 Punishes Smokers who Litter

Posted on in Criminal Law

imsis520-024Each year, new laws are put in place to change certain behaviors and make the state of Illinois a better place to live.  Former State Representative and current Chicago alderman, Deb Mell, sponsored a bill that will try to keep the streets of Illinois clean.

Cigarette butts are a constant problem on the streets of Illinois.  Lori Gummow, the executive director of Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, said that "cigarette butts are not biodegradable.  They’re made of cellulose acetate (a plastic). They get stuck in storm water sewers, and birds eat them and can’t digest them."  They might be small but they never go away.

Starting in 2014, cigarettes butts will be classified as litter thanks to an amendment to the Litter Control Act.  While the amendment was passed in August, the law itself won’t be policed until the beginning of 2014.

A first time conviction is punishable as a class B misdemeanor which can include a fine of no more than $1,500 and up to six months in prison.  A second offense can result in a class A misdemeanor with a similar fine assessment but a jail term of up to a year.   After three convictions or more convictions the punishments are much more severe as a class 4 felony.  The fine can be up to $25,000 and also a prison term between one year and three years.

The problem with this law like any law is enforcement.  The Police Chief of Quincy, Curt Kelly, said that "littering it’s just one of those things that doesn’t take very long so when somebody does it, they can do it anywhere when they are driving so it’s just one of those things we’d have to be there at the time to catch somebody."

Even if you are caught in the act, you are entitled to a fair and equitable trial.  Reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney in Arlington Heights who can help you mitigate the penalties you may face.