New law aims to take sticker shock out of court costs

URBANA — If you’ve ever booked a hotel room for $149 a night and been billed well over $200 after taxes and fees were tacked on, you can identify with what defendants in Illinois criminal and traffic cases have been feeling for a long time. Changes that took effect July 1 mean that defendants will now have a clear idea, before pleading guilty, of the true cost of running afoul of the law. “Prior to this law taking effect, the joke I have been making is that ‘Under this star sign or when Mercury is in retrograde, you might be assessed the George Bailey Memorial Fund fee,’” said Champaign County Circuit Clerk Katie Blakeman. “It was virtually impossible to calculate in the courtroom (the fines

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