First Offense Probation
First-time criminal convictions can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. It can become much more difficult to obtain employment, housing, and education. Fortunately, in Illinois, certain first-time drug offenders are eligible for a probation program that, if completed successfully, results in the conviction being vacated.
The 1410 probation is a sentencing option for some first-time felony drug offenders. It may be used when a person is guilty of the possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance, such as cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, methamphetamine, opiates, and barbiturates. It is also available when a person commits possession of an unauthorized prescription form.
An offender is eligible for 710 probation if he or she has committed marijuana possession of up to 30 grams; manufactured, delivered, or possessed with intent to deliver up to 30 grams of marijuana; or grown cannabis plants.
To be eligible for either 1410 or 710 probation, the offender must never have been convicted of or placed on probation for any violation related to controlled substances or cannabis.
When a defendant takes advantage of these probation options, he or she pleads guilty to the drug offense at sentencing. Then, a motion to vacate the plea is entered into the court record. The motion is continued, or postponed, until the date of the termination of probation.
Conditions of Probation
The probation period lasts two years, during which time the offender must comply with certain conditions. Illinois law requires that the conditions include that the defendant:
- Refrain from violating any criminal statute;
- Refrain from possessing a firearm or dangerous weapon;
- Submit to periodic drug testing at least three times during the probation period, with the cost to be paid by the probationer; and
- Complete no less than 30 hours of community service.
The court may also impose other conditions, which may include requirements that the offender:
- Report to a probation officer;
- Work or obtain education or vocational training;
- Pay a fine;
- Undergo medical or psychiatric treatment or rehabilitation;
- Live in a group home for probationers;
- Support any dependents; and
- Refrain from using any illegal substances.
If the probationer violates a condition, the court may enter a guilty judgment and impose whatever sentence that could have initially been ordered.
Once the offender successfully completes probation, the conviction is vacated. This means that it is as if the conviction never happened, and it will not show up on the criminal record. The offender may then truthfully answer “no” to questions about whether he or she has been convicted.
However, there is still a public record of the arrest and charge. The record may be expunged five years after completing probation, if the offender has not had any further felony convictions. Alternatively, the offender may have the record sealed four years after completion of probation, if there are no further felony convictions. However, expungement offers better protection, and the sealing process takes longer than expungement, so it may be best to wait for expungement.
If you have been charged with a first-time drug offense, 1410 or 710 probation may prevent a conviction from ruining your life. Please contact the experienced Naperville criminal defense attorneys at Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation.