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Understanding Diversion Programs

July 5th, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Diversion ProgramsDiversion programs are alternative prosecution programs that are available to many first-time offenders who have committed nonviolent felonies or misdemeanors and are being prosecuted in Cook County. These programs are designed to help first-time offenders avoid criminal convictions and jail time by participating and completing diversion programming. Through participation in the program, those first-time offenders who otherwise would have become convicted criminals are given the opportunity to receive treatment and to contribute to their communities. Additionally, upon the successful completion of their diversion programming, the criminal defendant’s criminal charges will be dropped.

Eligibility for Diversion Programming In Cook County

The Assistant State’s Attorneys identify criminal cases where the defendant may be a good candidate for the diversion program. These defendants are notified and offered an opportunity to participate in the program. If the defendant is interested in participating in a diversion program then the Assistant State’s Attorneys will determine if the remaining eligibility criteria can be satisfied.

There are certain eligibility requirements for Cook County’s diversion programs. These requirements include:

  • The criminal defendant must be an adult charged in Cook County;
  • The criminal defendant must be a first time offender, meaning that he or she cannot have any previous felony or misdemeanor convictions for a crime involving violence.;
  • The charges pending against the criminal defendant must be nonviolent felony or misdemeanor charges. Eligible criminal charges include:
    • Retail theft;
    • Theft;
    • Fraud, credit card fraud, and ID fraud;
    • Forgery;
    • Counterfeiting;
    • Disorderly conduct;
    • Burglary; and
    • Drug possession;
  • The charges cannot be for:
    • DUI;
    • Weapons offenses; and
    • Domestic violence charges;
  • The victim of the crime must consent to the criminal defendant’s participation in a diversion program.

How Does the Program Work?

The Cook County diversion program places certain conditions and requirements on the criminal defendant based on their offense and their particular situation and the program lasts for 12 months. For instance, one participant in the program might have been a first-time drug possession offender. This criminal defendant’s diversion program might require that the defendant participate in and complete a drug rehabilitation program.

Some other examples of conditions of a diversion program include:

  • The requirement that the criminal defendant get a job;
  • The requirement that the criminal defendant earn a GED;
  • Participation in a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program;
  • Restrictions on the criminal defendant’s possession of weapons, drugs, or firearms while participating in the program; and
  • Refraining from reoffending.

First Time Offenders Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are a first-time offender it is important that you pursue a diversion program if you are eligible. Participation and completion of a diversion program will result in your charges being dropped, meaning that you will not have a criminal record. An experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for diversion programming, can work through the pros and cons of applying for a diversion program, and can assist you with the application process.

Source:

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.nwsba.org/resource/resmgr/imported/
Cook%20County%20States%20Attorneys%20Office%20Deferred%20Prosecution%20Program.pdf

 

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