Proposed legislation aims to toughen penalties for evading police

Illinois lawmakers from the Republican party are advocating for tougher penalties for individuals who flee from the police, arguing that the current punishments are too lenient.

Over the past three years, there has been a significant increase of 151% in cases of fleeing police in DuPage County. However, according to state Sen. Seth Lewis, R-Bartlett, this issue is not limited to just one county. Police departments across Illinois are reporting an alarming trend of motorists refusing to comply with traffic stops.

Lewis expressed concern about the increasing number of individuals who are fleeing and attempting to evade law enforcement officers during high-speed chases. He emphasized that this issue needs to be addressed urgently.

According to Senate Minority Leader John Curran, R-Downers Grove, individuals who attempt to evade the police in Florida face a Class 3 felony charge and a $5,000 fine. Curran is proposing legislation, known as Senate Bill 1807, that would raise the penalty for this offense to a Class 4 felony in Illinois.

According to Curran, maintaining a misdemeanor level for fleeing from the police in Illinois is ineffective. He argues that if the current approach was working, there wouldn’t be an increase in incidents where individuals are recklessly fleeing from law enforcement.

In Illinois, if someone is convicted of a Class 4 felony, they could face a prison sentence of one to three years. However, under certain circumstances, if aggravating factors are present, the penalties become even more severe. In these cases, the person may be charged with a Class 3 felony, which carries a potential sentence of up to five years in prison.

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According to Curran, addressing this escalating behavior is crucial and one of the key ways to tackle the growing epidemic in suburban and metropolitan areas across the state.

The legislation has received support from the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

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