The Lake County State’s Attorney’s office has announced a new program that allows first time misdemeanor and felony offenders an opportunity to avoid having a criminal conviction permanently on their record. The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office calls it the Alternative Prosecution Program. If the crime involves violence the offender is not eligible for the program. The Lake County State’s Attorney’s office makes the final decision on whether an offender will be allowed into the program. Here’s how it works.
A request to enter the program can be made by the prosecutor, judge, defense lawyer, public defender, or police officer. The request can be made at any time but it is usually made at the first court date. The applicant will have to pay a $70 fee which is non-refundable. An applicant will be required to take a drug test. A positive drug test will not necessarily keep an offender from getting into the program.
After you pay your $70 fee, you will schedule an interview with a representative from the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office. The screening process will include feedback from the victim and the arresting police officer. After this interview, if you meet all the requirements of the program, and you are acceptable to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office, your case will be scheduled to be heard in front of the Alternative Prosecution Citizens Panel. This panel is made up of citizens who live in Lake County Illinois. They will consider your case and make a recommendation to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s office. The Lake County State’s Attorney’s office will review your file and consider the recommendation from the Alternative Prosecution Citizens Panel and determine whether they will accept you into the program. The Lake County State’s Attorney’s office will make the final decision about whether you are accepted into the program or not.
If the State’s Attorney’s office accepts you into the program, you will be required to sign a program agreement and plead guilty in open court. You may be required to pay restitution, attend drug treatment and drug counseling, perform public service, or write a letter of apology to the victim. The victim is made whole and reimbursed for their loss, the defendant accepts responsibility and learns a lesson, and at the end of the day, the offender gets to avoid the stigma of having a criminal conviction on their record and are free to go on with their life without having a criminal conviction appear on a background search.
After you enter into the program, your case will be continued for 12 months. If you appear in court for the final court date and you have completed all the requirements of the program and paid all of your fees and costs, the case will be dismissed. Depending on the unique facts of your case, you will be allowed to expunge your case and remove the arrest from your record. However, if you do not successfully complete the Alternative Prosecution Program, the case against you will be reinstated. Since you pled guilty to the crime when you were accepted into the program, you will not be able to fight the criminal charges against you. You have already pled guilty so the matter will proceed to sentencing. The judge can sentence you to anything you could have been sentenced to when you pled guilty. In other words, if you pled guilty to a class A misdemeanor and failed to complete the Alternative Prosecution Program, the judge can sentence you to up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500.
The Lake County Alternative Prosecution Program is like the Kane County Deferred Prosecution Program. DuPage County is the only County in the Chicago Metropolitan Area that does not offer any type of Deferred Prosecution Program for first time offenders.
James G Dimeas is an award-winning criminal defense attorney who has spent the past 25 years handling criminal cases throughout Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, and Kane County. Criminal defense lawyer, James Dimeas, was named a ‘Best Criminal Defense Lawyer in Chicago” by Expertise in 2017 and a “Best DUI Attorney.” The National Trial Lawyers have named James Dimeas a “Top 100 Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer.” The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys has named James Dimeas a “10 Best Attorney Client Satisfaction.” If you are facing criminal charges in Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, or Kane County, you can contact James Dimeas anytime for a free and confidential consultation. You can always talk to James Dimeas at 847-807-7405.