Program Coordinator, Heather Bell (815) 334-4159
What is the Deferred Prosecution Program?
The Deferred Prosecution Program is designed for less serious misdemeanor and felony offenders who have the opportunity to keep a conviction from being permanently entered on their record. The defendant must complete an intake interview with the program coordinator, meet with and be approved by a panel of citizens from the community, and if accepted, complete the requirements placed upon them by the State’s Attorney’s Office. The requirements may include completing community service hours, obtaining a high school diploma or G.E.D., completing counseling or substance abuse treatment, working to obtain employment, writing a letter of apology to the victim, paying restitution to the victim, and paying fees to the Deferred Prosecution Program. Upon successful completion of the Deferred Prosecution Program, the State’s Attorney’s Office agrees to dismiss the pending charge(s) against the defendant. If the defendant fails to successfully complete the Deferred Prosecution Program, the defendant will be terminated from the program and the case will be returned to court for prosecution.
Deferred Prosecution Program Application Process
A referral needs to be made in court by the Judge, State’s Attorney, Public Defender, or private attorney within ninety (90) days of arraignment (felony cases) or the first court date (misdemeanor). Once referred, the defendant needs to report to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
INTAKE & FEE
The coordinator will contact the defendant to arrange an intake interview. At the interview, the coordinator will explain the program and all of the necessary forms to the defendant. A program fee must be paid once admittance to the program has occurred. The fee for felony cases is $750 ($500 for public defender clients) and $500 ($250 for public defender clients) for misdemeanor cases. Restitution payments will also be required, if applicable, on your acceptance date. At the discretion of the State’s Attorney’s Office, fees may be reduced upon a showing of indigence by the defendant.
PRESENTATION TO CITIZEN PANEL
At the conclusion of the intake interview, the coordinator will schedule a date for the defendant to appear before the Deferred Prosecution Citizens’ Panel. The defendant will explain the offense(s) he or she is charged with and accept responsibility for his or her actions. The panel will then make a recommendation about the defendant’s acceptance into the program.
After the panel has made their recommendations, the file will be reviewed by an Assistant State’s Attorney and a decision will be made to approve or reject the recommendation of the panel.
IF CASE IS ACCEPTED
If the defendant is accepted into the Deferred Prosecution Program, he or she will sign an agreement on his or her next court date. The defendant will also be required to provide a written statement admitting to the elements of the charge(s) and his or her involvement.
IF CASE IS REJECTED
If the defendant is not accepted into the Deferred Prosecution Program, he or she will be notified by the coordinator. There are no appeal hearings for rejection.
Upon successful completion of all the requirements, the case will be dismissed at the final court date.
If the terms of the Deferred Prosecution Program Agreement are not completed, or the defendant commits a new offense, the Coordinator may recommend to the court that the defendant be terminated from the Deferred Prosecution Program.
Deferred Prosecution Program Guidelines:
Admission to the Program is at the sole discretion of the State’s Attorney, however, an applicant is generally not eligible for the Deferred Prosecution Program if any of the following apply:
1. Applicant is currently on probation/ supervision/conditional discharge for misdemeanor or felony charges (juvenile or adult)
3. Applicant is an active gang member.
4. Applicant is charged with domestic violence, stalking, violations of orders of protection, or sex offenses.
5. Applicant is charged with Class (X), (S),(1) or non-probationable offenses.
6. Applicant is charged with drug (including cannabis) or DUI offenses.
8. Applicant committed the offense while out on bond.
9. Applicant is charged with a traffic offense (Companion traffic charge(s) to CM of CF offenses will need to be resolved separately).
10. Charges of identity theft, committing a crime against an elderly victim, and weapons charges will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
11. Violent offenses not involving great bodily harm or death will be considered on a case-by-case basis and only with the consent of the victim.