Mental Health Probation & Second Chance Probation

Our Criminal Defense Attorneys in Arlington Heights Can Help

In certain cases, the court of Illinois allows certain defendants to be placed on probation or conditional discharge. For example, Second Chance Probation (SCP) allows select individuals who have not been previously convicted of felony offenses and previously afforded specified diversionary programs, to receive a special probation which, if all conditions are fulfilled, will not result in a conviction. Likewise, the Mental Health Court Program is a 2-year voluntary probation program that allows individuals arrested for nonviolent, nonsexual felonies to enroll in mental health treatment.

Second Chance Probation

People charged with certain crimes, such as Class 4 possession of a controlled substance, Class 4 possession of methamphetamine, some categories of theft, retail theft, certain categories of criminal damage to property, and Class 4 possession of marijuana, are eligible to plead guilty and, without a judgment of a conviction, can be sentenced by a judge to Second Chance Probation. Those previously convicted of a violent crime as an adult or adjudicated as a minor, those convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), and other particular offenses are ineligible for this probation.

A sentence under SCP lasts for at least 24 months, and conditions of the probation include:

  • Not violating any laws
  • Making full restitution to the complainant or property owner
  • Attempting to get a job
  • Pay fines
  • Attend School
  • Submit to drug testing
  • Perform community service

Upon completion of the probation, the case will be dismissed against the person. However, if the person commits any offense within 5 years of discharge and dismissal, the case could be used as aggravation in a sentencing proceeding in the new case.

Mental Health Court Program

The Cook County Felony Mental Health Court is a 2-year voluntary probation program that helps people deal with their mental health conditions. The mission of the program seeks to address the disproportionate number of individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system. These individuals also often have an additional alcohol and/or illegal drug problems, likely as an attempt to self-medicate. The program strives to assist people in obtaining the highest level of stability possible in the hopes the stabilization will reduce the likelihood of future incarceration or crimes.

Those who are eligible for the program must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an identifiable diagnosed mental illness
  • Have the ability to understand the terms/expectations of the program
  • Volunteer to agree to enter the program, sign the contract, and agree to abide by the rules
  • Be charged with a generally nonviolent felony offense
  • Have an open case with the State Department of Mental Health (DMH)
  • Have no recent history of violent or sexual crimes
  • Have no charges involving a civilian victim

If someone wishes to participate, an individualized treatment plan is developed and put into place. After this, the defendant pleads guilty to the charge and begins the program. Usually, within a 24-hour period, the participant is released from jail and is transported by a case manager to the next level of care specified in the treatment plan.

During the program, participants have frequent status meetings in front of the judge and the rest of the team, regular communication with the Adult Probation Department and the Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC), and ongoing treatment. Treatment can include residential, intensive outpatient, regular outpatient visits, medication management, psychosocial rehabilitation, academic/vocational interventions, and treatment readiness groups.

Those who are frequently and willfully noncompliant with the terms of the program will usually be removed from the process. Also, if any participants demonstrate an inability to benefit from the program and remain psychiatrically unstable might be withdrawn from the program. Likewise, people can voluntarily un-enroll from the program and will return to court to assume a traditional sentence.

Let Our Experienced Attorneys Help

If you think you might be eligible for either program, give our experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorneys a call. Our highly rated lawyers will look over your case and recommend particular courses of action to ensure you get the best results possible. Don't let a felony ruin your life. Contact an experienced advocate atAhmad Law Firm today.

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