Plead innocent? Plead guilty? Go to trial? Ask for a plea bargain? Maybe a better option for you or your loved one is deferred prosecution. Call us today at (312) 466-9466 to lean about this important criminal defense option.
You may be eligible for a deferred prosecution program if you are arrested in the Chicagoland area for a felony offense.
This is a program for some adult offenders who don't have a prior conviction. Each Chicago-area county administers this program separately, and the goal is to help criminal defendants to avoid future criminal behavior. Some counties do not offer deferred prosecution.
In Cook County, deferred prosecution may be offered to first offenders charged with misdemeanors and certain felonies, such as simple drug possession. It is hard work but it is much better than going to prison.
Getting Deferred Prosecution in Illinois
Many people ask for our help in getting deferred prosecution, but there are often misunderstandings about what it means. Here are some important things to know about deferred prosecution:
- Deferred prosecution is not the same as being found Not Guilty. It is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecution. At the end of the program, if the defendant has done what was asked of him, for example performing community service, attending "drug school," or paying restitution, the State's Attorneys Office will dismiss the felony charge.
- However, if a defendant fails to fulfill his obligations, the felony case will go to a felony courtroom, and you will have lost your right to a Preliminary Hearing. At that point, the normal process of a criminal trial (or any other available options) will determine your ultimate fate.
- Deferred prosecution is not available to everyone. In Cook County, it is up to representatives of the State's Attorney to offer it to you. This occurs as part of the preliminary felony hearing process, or on dates in which a prosecutor from the Alternative Prosecution unit are in a misdemeanor courtroom.
- To be part of a deferred prosecution program, as mentioned above, you can't have a prior conviction. That applies not just to convictions in the jurisdiction at which you are being tried -- you can't have a felony conviction in any jurisdiction, anywhere. You can't even have a felony case pending any court.
- The rules regarding deferred prosecution can change from time to time, but typically it doesn't matter how old you are. If you have already done the deferred prosecution program, however, you cannot do it again.
- It's important to be completely honest about your criminal history because misrepresentation of criminal history can get you kicked out of the program. Other things that get you kicked out of the program include committing a crime, possessing a fire arm or deadly weapon or getting caught with drugs.
- To have the best chance at receiving a deferred prosecution, it is important to have an experienced defense attorney such as Steven R. Hunter to help you put together mitigation that will maximize your chance of success.
Is Deferred Prosecution an Option for Your Criminal Case?
We can tell you if you are a candidate for deferred prosecution. It can be used to your benefit in many criminal cases, including but not limited to accusations of Burglary, Forgery, Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle, Possession of Burglary Tools, Possession of Cannabis, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Methamphetamine, Retail Theft and Theft.
There are many other rules and requirements for a deferred prosecution program, and we can advise you on those. In general, for some people, getting into the deferred prosecution program is a great result after being charged with a serious crime.
To learn more about deferred prosecution and to discuss whether it is an option for you, please call our criminal defense attorneys at (312) 466-9466.