If you find yourself in legal trouble, you might have no idea what to do next. The court may offer you the chance to plead guilty, or perhaps you will go to trial. Regardless of the choices in front of you, the court may offer you a diversion program as a punishment. Not sure what a diversion program is? You are not alone. This guide explores diversion programs Illinois commonly offers.
What Are Diversion Programs?
Diversion programs are post-conviction programs designed to give an individual the opportunity to avoid punishments typical of this criminal conviction for that crime. In most cases, you can avoid prison completely by becoming part of a diversion program. Diversion programs are often a form of rehabilitation.
Diversion programs are not available to everybody charged or convicted of a crime. The courts typically offer diversion programs based on any mental health issues of the defendant, substance abuse issues, past criminal history, and the nature of the specific charges.
Diversion programs offer a variety of benefits to the public as well as to the defendant or convicted individual. For example, diversion programs reduce prison overcrowding and save money.
In Illinois, diversion programs include court supervision, Second Chance, and Section 10 probation. Some of these programs are for adults, and others are great for youth. For many of these programs, you must be on your first offense in order to reap the benefits of such programs.
What Is Court Supervision?
Court supervision is one of the most common diversion programs available in Illinois, and it provides for the most freedom of the choices available to you if you are charged with a misdemeanor.
Keep in mind that not all misdemeanors are eligible for court supervision. For example, individuals facing a second DUI or domestic battery may not be able to undergo diversion programs. On the other hand, with court supervision, your case is completely dismissed and does not count as a conviction — so long as you complete all the requirements.
What Is Illinois Second Chance?
Second Chance is a program available to youth under the age of 17.5, specifically for those with mental health issues and substance abuse issues in Cook County. The program focuses on aftercare treatment for high-risk youth who need help with the transition from incarceration back into the community, setting children up for a better future. The program could involve counseling, drug screenings, and family assessment.
What Are Section 10 and 410 Probations?
Unless you are charged with having less than 30 grams of marijuana, all drug charges in Illinois are felonies. With Section 10, individuals who have been convicted of a first-time offense related to cannabis undergo a program to avoid conviction. Section 410 is available to assist with other drug convictions.
These types of probation involve regular drug testing, therapy, employment guidelines, and completion of an educational program. You also have to pay fines and court fees. The good news is you can often avoid having a drug charge on your criminal record.
What Should You Do If You Face Criminal Charges?
Before you accept an offer for a diversion program, you should always speak with an attorney first. Your criminal law attorney will help you determine if pleading guilty or entering a diversion program is a good choice for you.
Daniels, Long & Pinsel, LLC, is a criminal law firm serving Illinois residents. For more than 25 years, we have offered legal services to those in need of criminal defense. No matter what kind of legal trouble you are in, you need legal counsel. Call our experienced attorneys today to schedule a consultation.