Facing a Cook County felony charge? You may be eligible for several different rehabilitation programs that spare you the consequences associated with these types of charges.
Below, we’re going to go into detail on two different programs that may be available to you. See if either of them apply to your situation. If you’re still unsure after reading or you simply want to learn more, feel free to reach out to our office.
Deferred Prosecution Program
In 2011, the State’s Attorney’s Office initiated the Deferred Prosecution Program. This 12-month program offers first-time, non-violent offenders the opportunity to avoid the penalties of a felony conviction by going through intensive training. Those who successfully complete the program may have charges dropped at the end of the 12-month period.
If you were convicted for any of these crimes, you may be eligible to apply for the program.
- Retail theft
- Possession of stolen vehicle
- Possession of burglary tools
- Possession of cannabis
- Possession of a controlled substance
- Possession of methamphetamine
You may apply for the program under these additional guidelines:
- No prior felony charges
- No prior misdemeanor charge for a violent offense
You are ineligible for the program if you were charged with any of the following offenses:
- Delivery of cannabis
- Delivery of a controlled substance
- Delivery of methamphetamine
- Intent to deliver or manufacture cannabis, any controlled substance, or methamphetamine
- Any violent offense in which bodily harm was inflicted, force was threatened or used against another person, or a sexual crime was committed
- Any crime of domestic violence, including battery and violation of an order of protection
- Hate crimes
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Any offense involving the use of a firearm or deadly weapon
Admittance to the Deferred Prosecution Program is one-time only. There is no age limit on admittance to the program.
- Upon admittance to the program, all of these conditions must be met during the 12-month period:
- No other offenses can be committed at the municipal, state, or federal level
- No possession of a firearm or deadly weapon
- No possession of a drug other than what is prescribed by a doctor
- Must make full restitution for original offense
- Must have gainful employment, or if that is not possible, a minimum of 96 community service hours must be served
- If you have not graduated from high school, you must enroll in a G. E. D. or vocational training program
- If necessary, you must receive treatment for drug or alcohol addiction
- Must attend all scheduled court appointments
At the end of the 12-month period, the State’s Attorney’s Office will review the case. If any conditions were not met, the case returns to the prosecution. If all the conditions were met to the satisfaction of the State’s Attorney, the felony charge will be dropped. Then your attorney may request that the case be expunged from your record.
Drug School Diversion Program
If you live in Cook County or St. Clair County, and you were a first-time, low-level offender in certain drug-related crimes, you may be eligible for this program. Upon admittance to the Drug School Diversion Program, you will attend classes that explain the consequences of substance use and the negative, life-altering consequences of involvement with the justice system.
At your preliminary hearing for your original offense, the court will identify if you are admissible to the program. If you agree to the stipulations of the program, you will be granted a three-month continuance and your hearings will be waived. You will then participate in a minimum of 10 hours of classes and comply with other program rules.
You may be eligible for the program under the following conditions:
- You are at least 17 years old
- Your charges occurred in either Cook County or St. Clair County, Illinois
- You have no prior felony convictions
- You have no prior convictions involving violence
- You have no history of drug dealing
- Your charges involved a misdemeanor or felony charge of possession of PCS, cannabis, or drug paraphernalia
At the end of the three-month period, the prosecution will review the case. If the requirements were met, the charges will be dropped and you may apply for expungement. If the requirements were not met, the case will continue.
If you have participated in the Drug School Diversion Program, you may also be granted permission to participate in the Deferred Prosecution Program.
Diversion May Be Your Best Chance at Avoiding Serious Repercussions
These two programs aren’t the only ones out there. Just one additional example is the Juvenile Justice Diversion Project. This project is a court alternative diversion program that gives youth opportunities for beneficial activities that promote positive societal contributions. Through education, leadership training, community service, and advocacy programs, the Juvenile Justice Diversion Project attempts to rehabilitate youth.
To learn more about your eligibility for participation in any of these programs, or about other programs that may be available to you, your best bet is to contact a qualified attorney today to set up a free initial consultation.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.