In Article 44 of the Illinois Criminal Code, Illinois legislators discuss crimes relating to cell phones. For examples, it is illegal to give or sell a cellphone to minor with the intent that the device be used to commit a crime. A violation of this particular law is a Class A misdemeanor. This article also allows law enforcement to seize any cell phones on school property if there is evidence that the phone was used for illegal purposes. However, the States Attorney has the power to release the cell phone back to its owner if it is demonstrated that he or she was unaware that the phone was being used for criminal activity.
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The text below comes from Article 44 of the Illinois Criminal Code of 1961. This law may have changed -- please read the important legal disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Illinois Criminal Code of 1961 - Article 44
Sec. 44-1. As used in this Act, "telecommunications device" or "device" means a device which is portable or which may be installed in a motor vehicle, boat or other means of transportation, and which is capable of receiving or transmitting speech, data, signals or other information, including but not limited to paging devices, cellular and mobile telephones, and radio transceivers, transmitters and receivers, but not including radios designed to receive only standard AM and FM broadcasts.
(720 ILCS 5/44-1)
(Source: P.A. 86-811.)
Sec. 44-2. (a) A person commits unlawful transfer of a telecommunications device to a minor when he gives, sells or otherwise transfers possession of a telecommunications device to a person under 18 years of age with the intent that the device be used to commit any offense under this Code, the Cannabis Control Act, the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, or the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act.
(720 ILCS 5/44-2)
(b) Unlawful transfer of a telecommunications device to a minor is a Class A misdemeanor. (Source: P.A. 94-556, eff. 9-11-05.)
Sec. 44-3. (a) Seizure.
(720 ILCS 5/44-3)
Any telecommunications device possessed by a person on the real property of any elementary or secondary school without the authority of the school principal, or used in the commission of an offense prohibited by this Code, the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, the Cannabis Control Act, or the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act or which constitutes evidence of the commission of such offenses may be seized and delivered forthwith to the investigating law enforcement agency. A person who is not a student of the particular elementary or secondary school, who is on school property as an invitee of the school, and who has possession of a telecommunication device for lawful and legitimate purposes, shall not need to obtain authority from the school principal to possess the telecommunication device on school property. Such telecommunication device shall not be seized unless it was used in the commission of an offense specified above, or constitutes evidence of such an offense. Within 15 days after such delivery the investigating law enforcement agency shall give notice of seizure to any known owners, lienholders and secured parties of such property. Within that 15 day period the investigating law enforcement agency shall also notify the State's Attorney of the county of seizure about the seizure.
(b) Rights of lienholders and secured parties.
The State's Attorney shall promptly release a telecommunications device seized under the provisions of this Article to any lienholder or secured party if such lienholder or secured party shows to the State's Attorney that his lien or security interest is bona fide and was created without actual knowledge that such telecommunications device was or possessed in violation of this Section or used or to be used in the commission of the offense charged.
(c) Action for forfeiture. (1) The State's Attorney in the county in which such seizure occurs if he finds that such forfeiture was incurred without willful negligence or without any intention on the part of the owner of the telecommunications device or a lienholder or secured party to violate the law, or finds the existence of such mitigating circumstances as to justify remission of the forfeiture, may cause the investigating law enforcement agency to remit the same upon such terms and conditions as the State's Attorney deems reasonable and just. The State's Attorney shall exercise his discretion under the foregoing provision of this Section promptly after notice is given in accordance with subsection (a). If the State's Attorney does not cause the forfeiture to be remitted he shall forthwith bring an action for forfeiture in the circuit court within whose jurisdiction the seizure and confiscation has taken place. The State's Attorney shall give notice of the forfeiture proceeding by mailing a copy of the complaint in the forfeiture proceeding to the persons and in the manner set forth in subsection (a). The owner of the device or any person with any right, title, or interest in the device may within 20 days after the mailing of such notice file a verified answer to the complaint and may appear at the hearing on the action for forfeiture. The State shall show at such hearing by a preponderance of the evidence that the device was used in the commission of an offense described in subsection (a). The owner of the device or any person with any right, title, or interest in the device may show by a preponderance of the evidence that he did not know, and did not have reason to know, that the device was possessed in violation of this Section or to be used in the commission of such an offense or that any of the exceptions set forth in subsection (d) are applicable. Unless the State shall make such showing, the Court shall order the device released to the owner. Where the State has made such showing, the Court may order the device destroyed; may upon the request of the investigating law enforcement agency, order it delivered to any local, municipal or county law enforcement agency, or the Department of State Police or the Department of Revenue of the State of Illinois; or may order it sold at public auction.
(2) A copy of the order shall be filed with the investigating law enforcement agency of the county in which the seizure occurs. Such order, when filed, confers ownership of the device to the department or agency to whom it is delivered or any purchaser thereof. The investigating law enforcement agency shall comply promptly with instructions to remit received from the State's Attorney or Attorney General in accordance with paragraph (1) of this subsection or subsection (d).
(3) The proceeds of any sale at public auction pursuant to this subsection, after payment of all liens and deduction of the reasonable charges and expenses incurred by the investigating law enforcement agency in storing and selling the device, shall be paid into the general fund of the level of government responsible for the operation of the investigating law enforcement agency.
(d) Exceptions to forfeiture. No device shall be forfeited under the provisions of subsection (c) by reason of any act or omission established by the owner thereof to have been committed or omitted by any person other than the owner while the device was unlawfully in the possession of a person who acquired possession thereof in violation of the criminal laws of the United States, or of any state.
(e) Remission by Attorney General. Whenever any owner of, or other person interested in, a device seized under the provisions of this Section files with the Attorney General before the sale or destruction of the device a petition for the remission of such forfeiture the Attorney General if he finds that such forfeiture was incurred without willful negligence or without any intention on the part of the owner or any person with any right, title or interest in the device to violate the law, or finds the existence of such mitigating circumstances as to justify the remission of forfeiture, may cause the same to be remitted upon such terms and conditions as he deems reasonable and just, or order discontinuance of any forfeiture proceeding relating thereto. (Source: P.A. 94-556, eff. 9-11-05; 95-331, eff. 8-21-07.)