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Illinois’ Most Lenient Sentencing Options for Felony Convictions

joliet felony criminal attorney

When someone is convicted of a felony in Illinois, the maximum penalties can include years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. But what is the lightest sentence that the court is allowed to hand down?

Can You Get Court Supervision for a Felony?

Illinois does not allow court supervision for felonies. Court supervision is a sentencing option only for traffic violations, petty offenses, and most misdemeanors, including a first-time DUI (but not a repeat DUI).

For those unfamiliar with the term, court supervision is a deferred dismissal of your case. At the end of the supervision period (usually one year), if you have met the requirements set by the court (e.g., not committing another violation and finishing an educational program), the case is dismissed, and no conviction is entered on your record.

Is Probation Without Jail Time Possible for a Felony?

Illinois law allows a sentence of probation (with no time in prison) for most, but not all, felonies in Illinois. First degree murder and Class X felonies (e.g., aggravated assault with a firearm or drug possession involving large quantities of heroin or similarly dangerous drugs) are not eligible for probation; a term of imprisonment is required by state law.

Illinois statutes spell out minimum and maximum prison terms and fines for each felony, but the state also encourages judges to choose alternatives to costly imprisonment, such as probation. The Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform has recommended against the incarceration of people convicted of a Class 3 or 4 felony, particularly when the person has no prior convictions for a violent crime and has not previously been sentenced to probation.

Probation requires the convicted individual to check in regularly with a probation officer and to comply with all conditions set by the court, which can be extensive. Violation of probation terms will result in sanctions, including the possibility of being sent to prison. The length of a probation sentence varies depending on the severity of the crime. For the lowest-level Class 4 felony , an offender can be sentenced to probation for up to 30 months, or imprisonment for one to three years.

What Does a Sentence of Conditional Discharge Mean?

A sentence of conditional discharge is an even better outcome than probation, because the offender does not need to check in regularly with a probation officer. But, as with probation, the offender still has a conviction on their record and must meet various conditions set by the court for the required period of time.

Trust an Experienced Joliet Felony Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with a serious crime, you need the help of an experienced Will County criminal defense lawyer. The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba will provide the aggressive defense you need, from the moment you contact us. We respond to calls 24/7 at 815-740-4025; call now for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Understanding Illinois’ 410 Probation for First-Time Drug Offenders

joliet 410 probation attorney

Did you know that more people now die in the U.S. each year from drug/alcohol overdoses than from shootings or car accidents? In response to this public health crisis, state governments have been experimenting with a variety of solutions, including substance abuse treatment programs and other alternatives to imprisonment for low-level drug offenses.

Illinois, for example, offers a program known as 410 probation, also known as first-time drug offender probation ( 720 ILCS 570/410 ). As with any sentence of probation or court supervision, an offender must plead guilty to the drug charge. But if they fulfill all of the terms of the 410 probation, the charges will be dismissed, and they will not have a conviction on their record. (In that respect, this is more like a court supervision than a probation.) Avoiding a drug felony conviction can be critical to one’s ability to obtain employment in many fields.

What Crimes Are Eligible for 410 Probation?

• The Class 4 felony of possession of a small quantity of a controlled or counterfeit substance under 720 ILCS 570/402(c), such as:

o Less than 15 grams of a substance containing cocaine, heroin, LSD, or morphine.

o Less than 30 grams of a substance containing ketamine, methaqualone, pentazocine, or phencyclidine.

o Less than 200 grams of a substance containing peyote, barbituric acid, or amphetamine.

o Less than 200 grams of a substance containing a Schedule I or II narcotic drug not listed elsewhere.

• The Class 4 felony of unauthorized possession of prescription drugs under 720 ILCS 570/406.2.

What Are the Requirements for 410 Probation?

To qualify for 410 probation, you must have no previous conviction or court supervision for any criminal drug offense. You can get 410 probation more than once in a lifetime, but no more than once within a four-year period.

You may be required to pass a drug evaluation. If that evaluation finds that you have a substance abuse problem, making it unlikely that you can fulfill the terms of 410 probation, then you will not be eligible for 410 probation.

410 probation lasts for two years. During that time, you must fulfill numerous conditions, which typically include: no new criminal charges, no possession of firearms or other dangerous weapons, random drug tests, performing at least 30 hours of community service, paying fines and court costs, meeting with a probation officer or other agency on a regular basis, holding a job or going to school, and receiving such medical and/or psychiatric treatment as the court deems appropriate.

During that two-year period, if you fail to meet any of the conditions set by the judge, you will go back to court for a probation violation hearing. The judge may then convert your sentence of 410 probation to regular probation or imprisonment, in which case you will then end up with the drug conviction on your criminal record.

The arrest and charges will still show up on your criminal record, but after a period of time, you can petition to have those records expunged.

Choose an Experienced Joliet Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

Having a drug felony conviction on your record can make it very difficult for you to obtain employment in many fields. If you have been charged with a Class 4 felony drug crime, 410 probation is one way to avoid the criminal conviction, but there are other options as well. You will need the advice of a Will County drug crimes defense lawyer . The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba will examine all the facts of your case and develop a strategy to help you obtain the best possible outcome to your case. Contact us at 815-740-4025 at any time for a free consultation.

What You Need to Know About Reckless Driving in Illinois

joliet reckless driving attorney

When you get a traffic ticket for running a red light or speeding a few miles per hour above the speed limit, you may be inclined to simply plead guilty, pay the fine, and move on with your life. For relatively minor moving violations, such an approach is understandable and even reasonable. Sometimes, however, a traffic violation can be serious enough to incur actual criminal charges. One such violation is reckless driving.

What Is Reckless Driving?

The offense of reckless driving can encompass a wide variety of unsafe driving behaviors. Illinois law defines reckless driving as operating a motor vehicle “with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” The law also specifies that reckless driving includes using “an incline in a roadway, such as a railroad crossing, bridge approach or hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne.”

The second definition is fairly straightforward, but the first is certainly open to interpretation. A conviction requires prosecutors to prove that the driver acted with a complete lack of consideration for others—or that he or she intentionally placed others at risk.

A police officer could potentially cite you for reckless driving if you were:

• Driving dangerously while significantly exceeding the speed limit;

• Failing to yield the right of way;

• Passing other vehicles by weaving in and out of travel lanes;

• Operating your car without proper front and rear lights;

• Failing to signal before changing lanes or making a turn; or

• Ignoring stop signs, traffic lights, or other signs and signals.

Possible Consequences

You are probably wondering what will happen if you are convicted of reckless driving. While our experienced team works hard to minimize the potential impact of a reckless driving charge—or to have them dropped completely—sometimes, escaping the consequences may not be possible. Reckless driving is a usually a Class A misdemeanor, which means that a conviction could leave you facing up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. A conviction will also remain on your permanent record.

Your driving privileges will probably not be suspended for a reckless driving charge alone. If you have other traffic violations on your record in the last year, however, a conviction could result in a license suspension.

Our Office Can Help

If you have been cited or charged with reckless driving, keep in mind that it is a criminal offense and that you need a skilled Will County traffic violations attorney on your side. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba. We will work with you in protecting your rights and your future. Contact us today.

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