Boot Camp – Criminal Alternative Sentencing
As society’s view of the rehabilitative aspect of criminal sentencing has shifted, more and more options have become available to those accused of crimes. Criminal alternative sentencing programs offer a wide array of unique benefits and challenges. Generally speaking, these sentencing alternatives either greatly reduce the period of incarceration the accused is looking at or eliminates it all together. Moreover, if successfully completed, there are certain types of probation as discussed below which will prevent a felony conviction from entering on a person’s criminal history.
Over time, criminal alternative sentencing options are added or the eligibility requirements may change. It is best to discuss these options with an experienced criminal defense attorney so that you may know whether you, or your loved one, is eligible. Depending on your individual circumstances and the charges you are currently facing, you may be eligible for:
Boot camp (Impact Incarceration)
The Illinois Impact Incarceration Program, commonly known as “boot camp” is a program within the Illinois Department of Corrections which allows offenders the opportunity to possibly serve a shorter prison sentence. The program is run like a military style boot camp and involves vigorous physical exercise as well as mental and emotional discipline.
Most of those who enter the bootcamp program are ineligible for probation for some reason. Therefore, they are looking at mandatory prison time. Boot camp allows an offender to return home approximately six months after they enter the program. While the offender will remain on mandatory supervised release (parole), they will be released into the community having served a fraction of their sentence. However, if they violate a term of their mandatory supervised release, the offender will be required to serve the remaining balance of their sentence.
In order to be eligible to participate in the impact incarceration program, the person must be older than 17 and younger than 35 years old. They must not have previously participated in the impact incarceration program and they must not have served more than one prior sentence of imprisonment for a felony in an adult correctional facility. Moreover, the person must be sentenced to a sentence of 8 years or less, be physically able to participate in physical activities, and have no mental disorder or disability that would prevent participation in the program. The offender is required to consent to their participation in the impact incarceration program in writing and the court must recommend and approve the placement of the offender in the program in its sentencing order. Finally, individuals are disqualified from the bootcamp program if they have been convicted of certain offenses as laid out of 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1.1(b)(3). If you or your loved one is interested in the impact incarceration program, the criminal defense attorneys at the Noll Law Office will be able to determine if they are eligible and attempt to secure your spot in the impact incarceration program.
With the passing of the Drug Court Treatment Act, the General Assembly of the State of Illinois recognized that the use and abuse of drugs has had a “dramatic effect” on the criminal justice system in the State of Illinois. The State of Illinois found a critical need for a criminal justice system program that would “reduce the incidence of drug use, drug addiction, and crimes committed as a result of drug use and drug addiction.”
Drug court is a highly structured judicial intervention process for substance abuse treatment of eligible defendants that brings together substance abuse professionals, local social programs, and intensive judicial monitoring. A defendant may be admitted into a drug court program only upon the agreement of the defendant and with the approval of the court. A defendant may not participate in drug court if they crime they are charged with is a crime of violence as defined in 730 ILCS 116/20(b)(4), the defendant denies his or her use of or addiction to drugs, or the defendant does not demonstrate a willingness to participate in a treatment program. In addition, there are certain offenses that require the agreement of the prosecutor.
If you or your loved one are interested in applying for drug court, contact the criminal defense attorneys at the Noll Law Office. They represent clients charged with all types of drug cases in Springfield, Illinois and throughout Central Illinois.
First Offender Drug Probation
First offender drug probation is a sentencing option available to those accused of certain drug crimes in Illinois. A person can receive drug probation for Marijuana Possession, Controlled Substance Possession, and Methamphetamine Possession under certain circumstances.
First offender drug probation lasts for 24 months. During that time, the individual is required to submit to three drug tests, perform 30 hours of community service, and not possess a firearm. In addition, the probationer is required to pay all the mandatory fines and costs related to their case. However, unlike TASC probation, a person who receives drug probation does not have a conviction entered against them at the time of their plea. Instead, when the probation is successfully completed, the case is dismissed. The arrest may then be expunged after several years.
If you believe that you may be eligible for first offender drug probation in Springfield, Illinois, contact the criminal defense lawyers at the Noll Law Office at (217) 414-8889 for a free and confidential initial consultation.
First Time Weapon Offender Program
The State of Illinois created a pilot program for first-time, non-violent offenders charged with certain weapons offense. Under this program, a court, with the consent of the defendant and the State’s Attorney, may sentence a defendant charged with an unlawful use of weapons offense or an aggravated unlawful use of a weapons offense if punishable as a Class 4 felony or lower, to this program. If a person successfully completes the program, there is no conviction entered against them and the charges are dismissed.
A Defendant is not eligible for this program if the offense was committed during the commission of a violent offense as defined in 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.6(h), the defendant has previously been convicted or placed on probation or conditional discharge for any violent offense, the defendant is 21 years of age or older, they previously successfully completed the First Time Weapon Offender Program, they were previously adjudicated a delinquent minor for the commission of a violent offense, or they have an existing order of protection issued against them.
If accepted into the program, the defendant will be placed on probation for 18 to 24 months, must not commit any new offenses, refrain from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon, obtain or attempt to obtain employment, work toward passing high school diploma or equivalent, refrain from illegal substances in their system, perform a minimum of 50 hours of public service, pay fines, fees costs. In addition, there may be additional discretionary terms which have not been listed above.
Mental Health Recovery Court
In the Mental Health Court Treatment Act, the General Assembly for the State of Illinois recognized that “a large percentage of criminal defendants have a diagnosable mental illness and that mental illnesses have a dramatic effect on the criminal justice system in the State of Illinois.” The legislature found that “[t]here is a critical need for a criminal justice system program that will reduce the number of persons with mental illnesses and with co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse problems…”
Mental health court is a structured judicial intervention process for mental health treatment of eligible defendants that brings together mental health professionals, local social programs, and intensive judicial monitoring.
The benefit of participating in this program is that if an individual successfully completes mental health recovery court, the court may dismiss the original charges against the defendant or successfully terminate the defendant’s sentence or otherwise discharge him or her from the program without further proceedings. If the defendant violates the terms and conditions of the program, the court may impose reasonable sanctions under written agreement of the defendant, including, but not limited to, imprisonment or dismissal of the defendant from the program.
A defendant, who is eligible for probation based on the nature of the crime convicted of and in consideration of his or her criminal background, if any, may be admitted into a mental health court program only upon the agreement of the defendant and with the approval of the court. A defendant is not eligible for the mental health recovery program, if the crime is a crime of violence as set forth in 730 ILCS 168/20(b)(4), the defendant does not demonstrate a willingness to participate in a treatment program, or the defendant has been convicted of a crime of violence within the past 10 years excluding incarceration time.
Second Chance Probation
Whenever a person who has not previously been convicted of any felony offense pleads guilty to or is found guilty of possession of less than 15 grams of a controlled substance; possession of less than 15 grams of methamphetamine; or a probationable felony offense of possession of cannabis, theft, retail theft, forgery, deceptive practices, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, burglary, possession of burglary tools, disorderly conduct, criminal damage or trespass to property under Article 21 of the Criminal Code of 2012, criminal trespass to a residence, an offense involving fraudulent identification, or obstructing justice; or possession of cannabis, the court, with the consent of the defendant and the State’s Attorney, may, without entering a judgment, sentence the defendant to second chance probation
If a defendant is sentenced to probation, the probation period shall not be less than 24 months and the person cannot violate any criminal statute, they must refrain from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon, make full restitution if necessary, obtain or attempt to obtain employment, pay fines and costs, work toward obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent, submit to 3 random drug screens and perform a minimum of 30 hours of community service. If the individual successfully completes the probation, the court shall discharge the defendant and dismiss the charges against them. If they violate their probation, a conviction could enter, and they could be resentenced on the original penalties for the offense.
As can be seen, the ability to prevent a conviction from entering and having the case dismissed is a huge benefit to this probation. If you believe you are eligible or are interesting in attempting to obtain second chance probation, feel free to contact the criminal defense lawyers at the Noll Law Office in Springfield, Illinois to discuss your case.
TASC probation is a sentencing option which is available under certain circumstances. Its benefit is that while a conviction is initially entered, upon successful completion of the period of probation, the conviction is vacated, and your criminal record can later be expunged.
A person does not need to be charged with a drug crime to be eligible for TASC probation. However, the individual would need to be evaluated to determine if he or she has drug or substance abuse problems. Under the Illinois Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependency Act, a person charged with a crime can request evaluation for TASC. Not all defendants are eligible for TASC probation, however, and even if the court finds that an individual is eligible, it is not guaranteed that this sentencing option will be granted. Generally, TASC probation is granted if it is determined that a rehabilitation program will be of benefit to the defendant. The person in question also must not be charged with a violent crime or a weapons crime.
Once a person is approved for TASC probation, a rehabilitation program is designed specifically for that individual. The treatment and TASC probation will likely last for two years. Upon successful completion of the program, the court will enter an order vacating the conviction. The arrest record will then be eligible to be expunged five years after the probation period is concluded.
With the Military and Veterans Courts Act, the State of Illinois recognized that “[t]here is a critical need for a military and veterans justice system that will take into account service-related mental health problems as well as circumstances surrounding deployment.” The legislature found “the use and abuse of alcohol or drugs, mental health conditions, and problematic social interactions that affect and confront some veterans and members of the armed services on active duty have a dramatic effect on the justice system in the State of Illinois.”
The Veterans and Service Members Court Treatment Act established the Combination Veterans and Servicemembers Court program. The Veterans and Servicemembers Court is a highly structured judicial intervention process for substance abuse treatment, mental health, or other assessed treatment needs of eligible veteran and servicemember defendants that brings together substance abuse professionals, mental health professionals, VA professionals, local social programs and intensive judicial monitoring. The benefit of this program is that upon successful discharge, the court may dismiss the original charges against the defendant or successfully terminate the defendant’s sentence or otherwise discharge him or her from the program without further proceedings. If the defendant violates the terms and conditions of the program, the court may impose reasonable sanctions under written agreement of the defendant, including, but not limited to, imprisonment or dismissal of the defendant from the program.
If you having pending charges and want to see if you are eligible, contact the Noll Law Office today. If you are a veteran, they will see if you are eligible for this program as part of their representation of you.
As you can see, there are many different alternative sentencing options. Each option has its own eligibility requirements as well as benefits. If you have been charged with a crime in Springfield, Illinois or anywhere in Central Illinois, contact the lawyers at Noll Law Office today at (217) 414-8889 for a free initial consultation to determine if any of these programs will be available for you.