Many people do it, and usually the only penalty is frustrated looks or nasty comments from passerby's. But starting this January, individuals in Illinois who throw their cigarette or cigarette butt out of the window of a car, regardless of whether it is lit, will be subject to arrest and possible conviction of a misdemeanor or even felony.
The new law, under the Litter Control Act, will treat that cigarette as litter, causing the throwing of the cigarette out of your car to be a crime. The penalty increases each time you are caught. It is planned that the first offense will be a Class B Misdemeanor, the second a Class A misdemeanor and the third time will actually be a Class 4 felony, any of which could cause jail time and fines. Further, if you commit the offense on the highway, there is a possible additional penalty of litter clean-up patrol.
This is a new offense and it is unclear whether law enforcement will stop cars based on these offenses alone, but it is a new possible cause for stopping a vehicle. Drivers should be aware of the change of the law and continue to drive safely.