Illinois’ Second Chance Probation Allows For New Beginnings
The New Year brings second chances. It is a perfect time to discuss Illinois’ Second Chance Probation, the sentencing opportunity statute that went into effect a year ago. The statute, which can be found at 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.4 allows certain persons who have not previously been convicted of felony offenses and previously afforded specified diversionary programs, the ability to receive a special probation which, if all the conditions are fulfilled, will not result in a conviction.
Persons charged with Class 4 possession of a controlled substance, Class 4 possession of methamphetamine, certain classes of theft and retail theft, certain classes of criminal damage to property and Class 4 possession of marijuana, with the consent of the State’s Attorney, may plead guilty, and without a judgement of a conviction, may be sentenced to Second Chance Probation. Persons previously convicted of a violent crime as an adult or adjudicated as a juvenile, as well as those previously convicted of driving under the influence and other particular offenses are not eligible for this special probation.
The sentence under Second Chance Probation must be for at least 24 months. Conditions of the probation include no violation of the law of Illinois or another state, refrain from possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon, make full restitution to the complainant or property owner, obtain or attempt to obtain employment, pay fines, attend school, submit to drug testing and perform a minimum of community service hours. Other conditions may also be imposed by the court.
Should the person successfully completed, the case will be dismissed against the defendant. Should the person be convicted of any offense within five years of the discharge and dismissal, the case could be used as aggravation in a sentencing proceeding on the subsequent case.
For those persons who make a single mistake and are offered the Second Chance, there is truly the possibility of a new beginning.
Lori G. Levin
Attorney at Law
180 N. LaSalle, Suite 3700
Chicago, IL 60601