Will County Court – Diversion Programs
In the Joliet, Will County court system, there are several available diversion programs. Diversion programs are type of sentence that eliminates or reduces harsh criminal penalties.
The availability of various diversion programs will depend on many factors, including:
- the nature of the charge,
- prior criminal history,
- presence of a alcohol or drug problem, and
- mental health issues
Court supervision is a sentencing option and most common diversion program available for the majority of misdemeanor crimes committed in Illinois. Short of beating the case outright, court supervision is the next best alternative.
It is considered a deferred dismissal of the charge. No conviction enters during the period of supervision and upon its successful completion, the case is finalized as a dismissal. Therefore, a criminal conviction is avoided.
Avoiding a conviction is always an important goal for any criminal case. Some cases can be won on the merits, many cannot. For those that cannot gain an acquittal, court supervision is the tool available to eliminate the sting of a criminal conviction. It is only available for misdemeanor charges, and there are a handful of Illinois misdemeanor crimes for which this sentencing option is unavailable.
Domestic battery, resisting arrest, obstructing justice, and second time offenders for DUI and driving on a revoked license are prohibited from receiving a sentence of court supervision. Supervision is available to almost all remaining misdemeanor offenses. These include offenses such as retail theft, battery, and disorderly conduct. It is also available to those alleged to be first time DUI offenders, as well as those charged with a first time offense of driving while revoked.
Additionally, a successful completion of a sentence of supervision will, typically, allow for the charge to be expunged. An expungement totally erases the history of the incident. Exceptions exist though and include DUI and any other traffic offenses.
Section 10 Probation – Drug Offenses:
Every drug possession charge is a felony offense in Illinois, with the exception of marijuana possession of less than 30 grams. Of course, no one wants to deal with the repercussions of a felony conviction, if it can be avoided.
For most felony drug possession charges, there are defense options to position the case to avoid any felony conviction from occurring. This includes charges for the most commonly abused drugs including marijuana (more than 30 grams is a felony) cocaine, heroin, and escatsy.
A typical option is to secure a negotiation for “410 probation”. This is a type of felony probation and diversion program that allows a conviction to be avoided. It is considered a deferred dismissal of the charge. It will result in the case being dismissed upon successful conclusion of this probation, which will usually last for 24 months.
For a defendant to be eligible for “410 probation”, he or she must be considered a first time offender for drug offenses. This means it must be the first court disposition for any type of drug case, including any prior misdemeanor cannabis case. After the probation successfully terminates and the case is dismissed, the charge will be eligible for an expungement after the passing of 2 years. In other words, you can now “wipe your record clean” so the case is totally erased as if it never happened in the first instance.
TASC probation is a sentencing option and diversion program for eligible defendant’s. It has several benefits. Certain criminal offenses, such as residential burglary, are mandatory prison offenses. However, TASC allows for a unique exception to such a harsh sentence. It allows for any required prison sentence to be deferred and avoided upon successul completion of the probation. Additionally, successful completion of the probation will allow for the conviction that was of record during the probation period to be vacated. The result is no criminal conviction, and the case is then eligible for expungement.
TASC stands for “treatment alternative for Safe Communities”. Initially, it must be determined that the person seeking TASC probation has a drug and/or alcohol problem and there is a connection between this problem and the crime committed. Also, it is only available for certain criminal offenses, mostly property crimes such as theft and burglary. Crimes of violence, many drug crimes, and dui’s are offenses ineligible for TASC. A persons criminal history also has a bearing on eligibilty.
If accepted into the TASC diversion program, the defendant will pled guilty and be sentenced to TASC probation. The probation period typically ranges from 2 – 5 years. Counseling to address the drug and/or alcohol problem will next take place at no financial cost to the defendant.
Successful completion of all treatment recommendations and complying with the remaining terms of the probation will allow for the criminal conviction that entered at the time of the plea to be vacated. The case is next dismissed and now eligible for expungement. A lifetime felony conviction is avoided.
Impact Incarceration – “Boot Camp”:
The Illinois impact incarceration program, more commonly referred to as “boot camp”, is a diversion program within the Illinois Department of Corrections that allows eligible offenders sentenced to prison the opportunity to significantly reduce their sentence. It is referred to as boot camp because the program is run like a military stye boot camp.
Most offenders entering the program are not able to get felony probation for a variety of reasons and are, therefore, facing a prison sentence. Boot camp allows its successful participants to be home after approximately 6 months, rather than serve the actual sentence with which they initially entered the Illinois Department of Corrections.
If the offender cannot successful complete the program, he/she will then be required to finish out their remaining sentence. Those who do successfully complete the program and are discharged home, still remain under the control of prision authorities because they will be on parole. If they violate any parole conditions, they can be returned to prison to serve the balance of the original sentence.
Elibility for the program depends on a several factors. The most common include the following:
1. the person cannot be older than 35 years of age,
2. certain criminal offenses are excluded, such as any class X offense, certain crimes of violence, and sexual assault crimes,
3. the sentence imposed cannot exceed 8 years, and
4. the person must be physically and mentally fit.
It is also important to understand that the person will enter the Illinois Department of Corrections with a “recommendation” from the judge that he/she be placed within the impact incarceration program. The Department of Corrections has final approval of the placement of the person into the boot camp program. It is very uncommon, though, for a recommended and eligible person not to be placed into the program.
As a practicing criminal defense lawyer in Joliet, Will County, Illinois, I have successfully used all available diversion programs to significantly reduce sentences for various clients, otherwise, looking at harsh consequences.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in the Will County court system, and are looking for options, or diversion programs, to avoid harsh sentencing consequences of any type of criminal charge, please give us a call. 815-723-5600
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