A Lake County Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney explains the new Misdemeanor Alternative Prosecution Program

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In June 2017 the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office introduced a new Misdemeanor Alternative Prosecution Program. In the past deferred prosecutions in Lake County were sometimes available informally only at the discretion of a particular prosecutor. This new program now officially offers defendants an opportunity to get certain misdemeanor charges dismissed upon successful completion of the program. I am familiar with this new program having recently secured the first Misdemeanor Alternative Prosecution Agreement for a client who qualified for the Program.

ELIGIBILITY FOR MISDEMEANOR ALTERNATIVE PROSECUTION AGREEMENT

There are several specific eligibility requirements set forth by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office that can potentially bar a defendant from taking advantage of this program and include:

  1. Defendant has a prior conviction
  2. Defendant has prior 410 or 550/10 drug probation
  3. Defendant in currently on supervision or supervised supervision
  4. Defendant is an active gang member
  5. Defendant is charged with a violent, domestic or sex offense
  6. The Defendant’s pending case involves the use of or setting of fire
  7. The Defendant is charged with a DUI offense
  8. The Defendant is charged with using a weapon
  9. The Defendant committed an offense while on bond
  10. Defendant has previously participated in a Lake County Specialty Court Program or a First Offender Program form another jurisdiction
  11. Defendant is currently under an Order of Protection
  12. Defendant is not a resident of Lake County
  13. Non DUI traffic matters are not eligible
  14. The State’s Attorney’s Office retains sole discretion to accept or reject any applicant from the Program for any reason at the discretion of the State’s Attorney.

MISDEMEANOR ALTERNATIVE PROSECUTION APPLICATION AND CONDITIONS

A defendant may request to participate through their attorney at the initial arraignment date or on the first pretrial date. A continuance may be ordered to allow the State’s Attorney’s Office to determine if the defendant is eligible to participate in the program. If a defendant is accepted into the program a Misdemeanor Alternative Prosecution Program Agreement will be entered and the case will be continued for approximately 6 months for the defendant to complete the terms of the program which may include, alcohol or drug evaluation and treatment, restitution, public service, fees and court costs. The nature and circumstances of each case will dictate which conditions the defendant will be required to meet. Compliance with the conditions of the program are monitored through the Lake County Compliance Department. It is also important to note that a guilty plea is entered by the defendant when the Misdemeanor Alternative Prosecution Agreement is entered and a failure to meet the agreed conditions in the program may result in a new sentencing on the charge and not a dismissal. Please contact the Richard Albanese Law Office located across the street from the Lake County Courthouse if you are facing misdemeanor charges in Lake County to discuss your options. You can reach Richard at 312-882-1973 or http://www.criminalandtrafficdefenseattorney.com.

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An Illinois and Wisconsin licensed Criminal Defense Attorney answers: What are the consequences and options if my son or daughter lives in Illinois but got a ticket or citation for underage alcohol possession or consumption in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin from the Kenosha County Sheriff at the Country Thunder Concert or in the Country Thunder Campground camping area in 2017?

 

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OVERVIEW OF COUNTRY THUNDER FESTIVAL AND COMMON CITATIONS AND OFFENSES

Once a year the Country Thunder music festival takes place in Kenosha County Wisconsin, specifically in the Village of Twin Lakes. This years festival is scheduled to take place July 20-23, 2017. If past history is any indication of the future this festival will likely result in a massive number of citations and arrests in Wisconsin for Illinois and other out of state residents and Wisconsin residents alike. The most common citations are for underage consumption or possession of alcohol and usually occur within the festival camping and campground areas. The Kenosha County Sheriffs and other law enforcement agents are dispatched to these campgrounds often on ATV or other smaller vehicles or may also be on foot patrol. In the past I have represented young people charged with citations and violations for obstructing justice, underage consumption of alcohol, underage possession of alcohol, possession of cannabis, drug paraphernalia, battery, disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and other violations related to Country Thunder and the surrounding festival camping areas.

 

POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR UNDERAGE CONSUMPTION OR POSSESSION OF ALCOHOL CITATIONS FOR ILLINOIS RESIDENTS

The immediate potential consequence to an Illinois resident for an underage possession or consumption of alcohol violation is a six month suspension of Illinois driving privileges. The Illinois Secretary of State provides in relevant part:

  • Driver’s License Suspension for Alcohol Consumption — A person under the age of 21 who is found guilty or granted court supervision for a violation of state law or local ordinance relating to illegal consumption, possession, purchase or receipt of alcohol, regardless of whether a vehicle was involved will face a loss of driving privileges, in addition to any fine imposed. Court supervision for any of these offenses will result in a 3 month suspension of driving privileges; a first conviction results in a 6 month suspension of driving privileges; a second conviction results in a 12 month suspension of driving privileges and a third or subsequent conviction will result in a revocation of driving privileges.

It should be noted that the State of Wisconsin does not recognize the Illinois concept of Court Supervision so if an Illinois resident pays or ignores a citation for underage possession or consumption of alcohol they will suffer a conviction that could result in a suspension of driving privileges as outlined above. An underage consumption of possession of alcohol conviction will be visible to a parent’s insurance company and may result in increased family premiums, An additional significant repercussion of a conviction for underage possession or consumption of alcohol is the record of that offense as a forfeiture, criminal charge or ordinance violation. Often these tickets are not criminal in nature, but may still affect college applications or future job prospects for a young person.

 

WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR AN ILLINOIS RESIDENT TO AVOID THE POTENTIAL NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES OF A CONVICTION FOR UNDERAGE POSSESSION OR CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL?

The best option is to avoid any conviction for the offense at all. Theses offenses are often handled very differently between State and Municipal Prosecutors. Attorney Richard Albanese has assisted many young clients is securing deferred prosecution agreements that result in amended lesser charges or even dismissal depending on the jurisdiction that issued the citation. Often the Illinois resident charged with Underage Consumption or Possession of Alcohol does not even need to appear in court and can often meet certain conditions to resolve the matter during college breaks if attending school out of State with my representation in the matter. If you live in Illinois or Wisconsin and got a Wisconsin ticket for underage drinking or possession or any other violation please contact the Richard Albanese Law Office immediately as some of these violations have court dates for as early as a week or a few weeks after the event. Do not pay fines that will result in a permanent conviction on your record as there are other options available to you. Even if you or your son or daughter who received and underage possession or consumption of alcohol citation mistakenly paid the ticket prior to the initial court date it still may not be too late to reopen the case. Contact the Richard Albanese Law Office immediately for a free consultation at 312-882-1973 or by email atRichardAlbaneseLawOffice@gmail.com or on the web at http://www.criminalandtrafficdefenseattorney.com.