Five Things You May Not Have Known Were Illegal in Illinois; and One Thing You May Not Have Known Was Legal

It is not against the law to “date” your first cousin

In the criminal statutes, rules of consanguinity address the varying degrees of blood-relatives with regard to prohibited sexual relations and marriage. Obviously, a brother and sister can’t marry, or engage in a sexual relationship, but what about cousins? Most people assume the legal line of demarcation falls somewhere between third or fourth cousins—maybe even second cousins. Truth is, cousins aren’t mentioned in the statute at all. The Illinois Code, 720 ILCS 5/11-11 (Sexual Relations Within Families) specifically prohibits sexual relations with family members. The prohibited couplings include, siblings—full, half even adopted; parents and their children—also full, half and adopted; aunts and uncle with their nieces and nephews; great uncles and aunts; as well as grandparents and grandchildren. Cousins—even first cousins—are not on the list. That doesn’t mean it is safe genetically. But you won’t go to jail

Don’t tease a police dog!

Not sure what hurts a dog’s feeling, but don’t try and find out. It is a class A misdemeanor to tease a police dog. 510 ILCS 70/4.03.

It is illegal to hang your fuzzy dice, prom date’s garter, Virgin Mary ornament, or even your IPASS on your rear view mirror.

Section 625 ILCS 5/12-503(c) of the motor vehicle code prohibits placing or suspending any objects which materially obstructs the driver’s view. The statute does exempt vehicle stickers and registrations, but makes no exception for your IPASS device. The key wording is “materially obstructs,” but better believe the police frequently use this statute to justify pulling someone over with the hopes of uncovering a more substantial violation such as DUI, outstanding warrants for the driver, or immigration violations.

Adultery is a crime

It is still crime in Illinois to sleep with someone who is not your husband or wife, 720 ILCS 5/11-25. In fact, it is a class A misdemeanor, meaning it’s punishable by up to one year in jail. It is a crime of the same statutory severity as DUI, domestic battery, and shop lifting. Adultery includes when you are married and you know the person you are sleeping with is not your spouse. Or, when you are not married but you know that the person you are involved with is. Sneaking around is wise, since the statue does require that the affair be open and notorious to be a crime.

Fornication Too!

People may not realize that simple fornication is also a crime. 720 ILCS 5/11-40 prohibits any sexual intercourse with another not you husband or wife—basically sex outside of marriage. But it too requires the behavior be open and notorious and is only a class B misdemeanor—just six months in the county lockup.

Cyclists can run red-lights, when and where cars can’t

Technology is great…usually. There are sensors under the pavement at many stoplights in Illinois. Specifically, there are magnets. When a car or truck stops over the magnet, it triggers the sensor and the light changes from red to green in a reasonably short interval. Bikes, however, aren’t heavy enough, or aren’t made from metal (lots of bikes today are made from carbon fiber). They don’t trigger the sensors. So, cyclist find themselves sitting indefinitely waiting for a car to come along and change the light. Surprisingly the legislature provided some relief. Section, 625 ILCS 5/11-306(c)3.5 and it states in relevant part

…after stopping as required…the driver of a motorcycle or bicycle, facing a steady red signal which fails to change to a green signal within a reasonable period of time not less than 120 seconds because of a signal malfunction or because the signal has failed to detect the arrival of the motorcycle or bicycle due to the vehicle's size or weight, shall have the right to proceed, after yielding the right of way to oncoming traffic facing a green signal, subject to the rules applicable after making a stop at a stop sign…

Don’t try this in Chicago though. The exception only applies to municipalities under 2,000,000 people. Check out a detailed blog on this subject from

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