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When Would Someone Be Offered An Alternative Sentence To Jail In Illinois?


Whether or not you will receive an alternative sentence to jail in Illinois will depend on whether you have a criminal history, and if so, on the seriousness of that history. People who have a long criminal history are less likely than first-time offenders to get a lenient sentence, probation, or alternative sentences to jail. Some offenses require a jail or prison sentence by statute, and no probation is available. In addition, aggravating factors will be considered, such as whether someone was injured as a result of the crime, whether a weapon was involved, and whether the crime was committed against an elderly or mentally disabled person. If any of these aggravating factors apply, then there potentially will be a harsher sentence and it will be more difficult for the defendant to avoid a jail sentence. Generally we try to emphasize the factors in mitigation, which is basically all the positive things about our clients. In situations where our client was charged with an offense with a mandatory minimum jail or prison sentence, we have successfully negotiated to have the charges reduced to avoid the mandatory sentence.

What Are Sentencing Alternatives In Illinois? Are They A Good Option For Everyone?

There are many alternative sentencing options in Illinois. Oftentimes, these sentences involve performing a significant amount of community service through the Sherriff’s Work Alternative Program (SWAP). Aside from parents who work full time and may not be able to meet the time commitment of such a program, these alternatives are good for most people. If an individual cannot commit to an alternative program, they might be able to serve their sentence by spending only the weekends in jail. Deferred prosecution, enrollment in drug classes, and attending theft school are other alternative forms of sentencing that may apply.

Probation is also considered a sentencing alternative. There are first-offender probations in Illinois for drugs and cannabis called 410 or 710 probations. If completed, you can have your case dismissed and expunged, which means you could prevent a felony conviction from ending up on your record. In Illinois, we have first-offender gun probation, which under very limited circumstances allows a person who has been caught with a gun to avoid a felony conviction. If you are a drug addict or addicted to alcohol, then you can ask the court to be treated as an addict and sentenced to TASC probation. In essence, TASC is an intensive probation with intensive drug and alcohol treatment. If you complete it, then you can avoid a felony conviction. There are also other alternative programs which would avoid prison, such as mental health court, drug court, or second chance probation.

What Happens If I Do Not Complete The Alternative Sentence?

It’s important to not pick up a new case while you are on probation. If you violate the terms of probation, then the deal will be off, you can be re-sentenced to anything, and any additional charge will be added to the first and subject to mandatory consecutive sentencing.

For more information on Alternative Sentences To Jail In Illinois, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (815) 290-9170 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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