Under 18 and Driving Past Curfew

I'm pretty sure my parents didn't know about this law when I was in high school:

"(a-1) If the licensee is less than 18 years of age *** the license shall, as a matter of law, be invalid for the operation of any motor vehicle during the following times:

(A) Between 11:00 p.m. Friday and 6:00 a.m. Saturday;

(B) Between 11:00 p.m. Saturday and 6:00 a.m. on Sunday; and

(C) Between 10:00 p.m. on Sunday to Thursday, inclusive, and 6:00 a.m. on the following day."

625 ILCS 5/6-110.

Between the ages of 16 and 18, I broke this law virtually every weekend. Or did I? The Vehicle Code has a curiously broad exception: 

"(a-2) The driver's license of a person under the age of 18 shall not be invalid as described in subsection (a-1) of this Section if the licensee under the age of 18 was:


(7) exercising First Amendment rights protected by the United States Constitution, such as the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right of assembly."

Subsection (a-2)(7) applies whenever the licensee is "exercising First Amendment rights," including but not limited to the freedom of speech, exercise of religion, and right of assembly. So, if a 17-year old is driving around past curfew, his license is valid so long as he's engaging in any of the following First Amendment activities:

  • Listening to Miley Cyrus' book on tape, How to Get Rich Being Awful (prologue by Justin Bieber) 
  • Making political campaign contributions
  • Burning the American Flag
  • Praying that he doesn't get pulled over
  • Eating Kosher hotdogs
  • Dressing up as Hitler
  • Drawing a portrait of Muhammad
  • Skimming the articles in Hustler Magazine
  • Shouting out the window "I didn't win a Medal of Honor in Korea so that you kids could violate curfew!" 
  • Or, listening to his friend second-guess his decision to become a lawyer: