New Law Gives Illinois Defendants a “Second Chance”

Second Chances

Today, my client became the first defendant in Madison County, Illinois to be offered the newest form of probation under a law that went into effect on January 1st of this year.  This probation is called Second Chance Probation. Second Chance Probation gives judges the option to sentence certain first-time, non-violent offenders to probation without having a felony conviction on their record. This is an excellent opportunity to avoid the lifetime consequences of a felony conviction, such as difficulty securing employment.

Second Chance Probation is only available to defendants who have not previously received probation, conditional discharge, or a conviction for any felony offense. Defendants charged with a Class 3 or 4 felony that involve drugs, theft or criminal damage to property are eligible for Second Chance Probation. However, a defendant charged with a crime of violence, a sex offense or a DUI is not eligible.

Although most of the qualifying offenses in the Second Chance Probation statute were already probation eligible offenses, a defendant sentenced to probation would generally still receive a felony conviction. Now, a defendant that receives Second Chance Probation will have their case dismissed upon successful completion of the probation. Then, following a waiting period, the case may be expunged from the defendant’s record.

If you or someone you love has recently been arrested, it is imperative that you contact a qualified criminal defense attorney that has experience with this new law. If your criminal defense attorney determines that you qualify for Second Chance Probation, it could prevent you from being haunted by a felony conviction for the rest of your life.