The program is designed for first time, non-violent offenders. It is an opportunity to keep a conviction from being permanently entered on their record. By understanding the impact of their behavior, accepting responsibility and developing their own capacities, first time offenders become fully integrated, respected members of the community.
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 program requirements.
The requirements may include completing community service hours, obtaining high school diploma or G.E.D., obtaining counseling, writing a letter of apology to the victim, paying full restitution to the victim, and paying fees to the Second Chance 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 is terminated from the program and the case is returned to court for prosecution.
A referral is made by the Judge, SAO, Public Defender/Private Attorney, or Police Department. The request for an application is usually made at the first court appearance. But, it may happen prior to charging or at any time prior to the case being indicted.
Upon reception of referral, the coordinator will contact the defendant to arrange an intake interview.
The Coordinator will explain the program and all of the necessary forms to the defendant. The non-refundable application fee is $50 and must be paid at the initial interview.
At the conclusion of the intake interview, the coordinator will schedule a date for the defendant to appear before the Community Citizens Panel. The defendant must explain the offense they are charged with and accept responsibility for their actions. The panel will then make a recommendation to the State’s Attorney about the defendant’s acceptance into the program.
After the panel has voted, the file will be presented to the State’s Attorney. The State’s Attorney will approve or reject the application.
If accepted into the Deferred Prosecution Program, the defendant is required to provide a videotaped statement admitting to the elements of the case and their involvement in it. . They will sign an agreement during the videotaped admission.
If the defendant is not accepted into the Deferred Prosecution Program, he/she will be notified by the coordinator. There are no appeal hearings for rejection.