Emergency Lights (Source: File Photo)

Hard Times Could Be Ahead For Traffic Cops And Motorists In The State Of Illinois

Emergency Lights (Source: File Photo)
Emergency Lights (Source: File Photo)

An Illinois lawmaker has introduced legislation that would prohibit police from pulling over drivers who exceed the speed limit by up to 25 mph and commit other traffic violations, such as not having working windshield wipers or driving with an obstructed windshield.

Things on the roadways could get dangerous.

Illinois State Rep. Justin Slaughter (D) introduced House Bill 4603 that would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code, saying that no law enforcement officer shall stop a motor vehicle for:

  • (i) failing to display registration plates or stickers
  • (ii) being operated with an expired registration sticker
  • (iii) violating general speed restrictions (unless that violation is a misdemeanor or felony offense)
  • (iv) improper lane usage (unless that violation is a misdemeanor or felony offense)
  • (v) failing to comply with certain requirements concerning vehicle lamps
  • (vi) excessive tint
  • (vii) defective mirrors
  • (viii) an obstructed windshield or defective windshield wipers
  • (ix) defective bumpers
  • (x) excessive exhaust
  • (xi) failure of the vehicle operator to wear a safety belt.

The bill also “Provides that no evidence discovered or obtained as the result of a stop in violation of these provisions, including, but not limited to, evidence discovered or obtained with the operator’s consent, shall be admissible in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding.”

This bill would handcuff traffic officers in nearly every scenario except for an increase in motor vehicle crashes, which would be the result of not being able to enforce traffic laws.

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Driving Under the Influence (DUI) violations are not targeted in the legislation. However, many drunk drivers are apprehended for speeding and improper lane changes, both of which are targeted in the bill for exclusion by law enforcement.

What does this mean?

One could leave a bar drunk, with a busted windshield and bumper falling off, with no license plate, and a back seat filled with fentanyl pills.

If this person made it to the highway entrance, they could enter the roadway speed and jump lanes like a classic game of Frogger and not be pulled over.

When a crash occurs, law enforcement would then assess the drunk driver, which is highly reactive as opposed to the current system in most jurisdictions throughout the United States and most civilized countries, which is preventative.

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If this same driver weren’t drunk but simply speeding and jumping lanes and was pulled over by police, the fentanyl pills, if discovered by law enforcement, would not be admissible in court.

And even if you did happen to get locked up? In Illinois, it’s no biggie.

Illinois officially eliminated its cash bail system in 2023 following the state’s Supreme Court decision in July permitting the criminal justice reform to move forward.

The reform, which was supposed to be implemented as part of the “SAFE-T Act” in January, was initially put on hold when 64 Illinois counties filed a complaint arguing that the law, labeled the “Pretrial Fairness Act,” violated the state constitution.

However, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution did not prohibit cashless bail, allowing the policy to take effect on Sept. 18, 2023, and making the state the first to officially eliminate the bail system.

“Today, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the Pretrial Fairness Act, ensuring that a person’s ability to pay cash bail does not unfairly dictate their presumption of innocence in the court system,” Democratic Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said at the time. “Cash bail does not make communities safer, and it never has; it has simply exacerbated existing inequities and disparities in the criminal legal system. Pretrial detention, as a result of the inability to pay bail, further decimates communities that have long been most impacted by mass incarceration, and the destabilization of households and families.”

Under the new cashless bail policy, judges will be required to release all defendants unless that person has been charged with a violent crime or if the judge determines that person could be a flight risk, KSDK CBS5 reported. Individuals currently incarcerated because they cannot meet their set bail will have 90 days to appeal their case to the Illinois court system.

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Opponents of the measure expressed concerns that police will have to repeatedly arrest the same offenders and that public safety will deteriorate, according to CBS. But supporters of the new policy argued that it would eliminate “biases” in the criminal justice system and claimed that safety would not decrease in Illinois, WGN9 News reported.

“It’s pretty sad that for so long we made decisions about whether somebody should be detained based upon the money that they had in their pockets,” Sharone Mitchell Jr., the public defender for Cook County in Illinois, told WGN9.

The cashless bail system has previously come into question in California and other states after suspects were arrested multiple times for similar offenses in a short time span.

study of Yolo County in California showed that those released on cashless bail committed 163% more crimes overall and 200% more violent crimes than suspects released on bail, according to a press release from the county’s District Attorney.

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