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What Is Illinois' Offender Initiative Program?

Sometimes good people might make a mistake that leads to an arrest and criminal charges. If convicted, these otherwise law-abiding citizens could face steep fines and jail time, which could affect them for the rest of their lives. In Illinois, the Offender Initiative Program seeks to help these individuals avoid having a criminal conviction on their records by allowing them to participate in a program instead of having a judgment issued.

Eligibility for the Program

The law applies to individuals who were charged for the first time with certain felony crimes that are eligible for probation.

Such offenses can include:

Individuals charged with violent crimes, sex crimes, domestic violence, stalking, or weapons/gun crimes are not eligible under this statute. Additionally, a person would not qualify for the program if they were convicted of a felony in another state or under federal laws.

Conditions of the Program

According to Illinois criminal code 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.3, the defendant, the court, and the State’s Attorney could agree to allow the individual to participate in and complete a program under this law.

The court will set specific terms that the individual must adhere to, which could include:

  • Not violating any laws in any state,
  • Not possessing a firearm or dangerous weapon,
  • Paying the victim or property owner back,
  • Obtaining employment or participating in at least 30 hours of community service, and/or
  • Attending course to get a high school diploma or equivalent

If the defendant fulfills the conditions of the Offender Initiative Program, the State’s Attorney or court will dismiss the charges. However, if the state can prove that the defendant did not successfully complete the program, the criminal case will move forward.

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If you were charged with a crime, we are here to provide the effective counsel you need. We will deliver personalized attention and listen to your side of the story to determine your legal options. Our top priority is to seek a favorable result in your case.

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