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A conviction for a criminal offense can have devastating long-term effects. It can impede someone's ability to be admitted into college or get a job. The Felony/Misdemeanor Program provides a plan for first-time non-violent offenders to keep a conviction from being permanently entered on their record while accepting responsibility for their criminal activity.

Application process
A judge, the state's attorney, defense attorney or police department may refer the defendant to apply to the program. A referral generally is made within 90 days after charges are filed. Once a referral is made, the offender must contact the state's attorney's office to arrange an intake interview. A nonrefundable application fee of $50 is due at the time of the intake interview. The arresting police agency and the victim are consulted as part of the application process. The offender then must be interviewed and approved by a panel of citizens. If the panel approves, a recommendation is made to the state's attorney, who reviews the application and criminal history, as well as the police and victim input, and makes a final decision to accept or reject the applicant.

An applicant is ineligible if:

  • Has prior juvenile or adult convictions or felony arrests
  • Is on probation or supervision for any misdemeanor or felony charge
  • Is active gang member
  • Is charged in violent, domestic or sex case
  • Is charged with Class X, Class S or Class 1 felony, or ineligible for probation at sentencing
  • Is charged with felony drug or DUI charges
  • Is charged with using a weapon
  • Commits the offense while on bond
  • Is charged with stealing $10,000 or more from a public or government agency
  • Is charged with identity theft
  • Is charged with traffic offense
  • Is charged with filing a false police report
  • Is charged with crime against an elderly or disabled victim

Program requirements
If the state's attorney approves, the offender must sign an agreement at his or her next court appearance, and provide a videotaped statement admitting to the elements of the case and his or her involvement in it. Participants might be required to complete community service hours, obtain a high school diploma or G.E.D., obtain counseling, write a letter of apology to the victim, pay full restitution to the victim, and pay program fees. Bond conditions apply.


Completion or termination

Upon successful completion, the state's attorney agrees to dismiss pending charges. If program terms are not followed or if a new offense is committed, the offender is terminated from the program and the case is returned to court for criminal prosecution.