The Diversion Program for Illinois Drug Offenders
Being charged with a drug-related offense does not automatically mean you are heading to prison. You have many options when you are in this position, especially if you are a first time offender. One of these options is pursuing a diversion program, such as 410 probation.
The court does not have to grant a defendant’s request to enter a diversion program in lieu of incarceration or other punishment. It considers numerous factors to determine whether a diversion program is appropriate for an individual, such as the individual’s criminal record, whether he or she struggles with addiction, the defendant’s mental health, and the specific circumstances of the offense.
Individuals charged with drug offenses can access a diversion program meant specifically for first time drug offenders known as 410 Probation. It is named for the section of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act that governs it. There are actually two versions of this program, one for certain first time cannabis offenders and the other for certain first time offenders involving other substances.
The program lasts 24 months, during which the defendant must comply with all requirements the court imposes. These can be drug screenings, counseling, completion of an education program, and employment.
410 probation is like any other type of probation: a violation of its terms means the defendant is convicted of his or her charge and faces penalties like fines and jail time. An individual who believes he or she might have unwillingly violated one or more terms of his or her probation should contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately to discuss the violation and how to handle it with the court.
Completing a 410 Probation Program
Completing 410 probation is a deferred dismissal of the original charge. In other words, once the individual completes the program, his or her charge is dismissed. The arrest is not taken off the individual’s record, but the record shows that the individual was not convicted, which is an important distinction that can impact the defendant and the choices he or she can make later.
If the individual is charged with another drug offense at a later date, he or she will not have the opportunity to complete 410 probation again. He or she can seek an expungement once five years pass if he or she is not arrested again during those five years.
Work with an Experienced Naperville Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing your first drug-related charge in Illinois, you could be eligible for a diversion program to avoid being convicted of your offense. A felony conviction will change your life forever, potentially barring you from certain career and social opportunities later as well as stripping you of certain civil rights, like the right to obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. Contact our team of experienced Naperville criminal defense lawyers at Donahue & Sowa today to schedule your initial consultation in our office to discuss your case and your legal options in greater detail.