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Alternatives to Mandatory Incarceration
Incarceration is not always the answer when you have been charged with a criminal offense. Being found guilty and then sentenced to jail or prison may not be the appropriate punishment. It might not fit the crime and it does not always lead to your living a more productive life later on. Instead of automatically sentencing you to jail or prison, Ohio law gives the courts alternatives to mandatory incarceration, including pretrial diversion programs and intervention in lieu of conviction.
If you are facing a criminal charge right now, call Cincinnati criminal defense attorney Bradley J. Groene at (513) 338-1890. Brad has years of experience negotiating alternatives to jail or prison for his clients and will fight for your rights and freedom.
Pretrial Diversion Programs
If you are accused of a non-violent crime and the prosecutor on your case believes you are not likely to commit another offense in the future, he or she can give you the option to complete a pretrial diversion program instead of going through with the trial. This is also something an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney can negotiate on your behalf.
Pretrial diversion programs differ depending on where you live. However, all programs include probation-like requirements. You may be required to take alcohol or drug classes or complete a rehabilitation program. You might be required to not drink any alcohol and submit to drug testing. There may be other requirements including keeping a job or attending school, completing community service, and more. The length of the program will depend on your situation but can last for years.
If at any time you violate the terms of the pretrial diversion program, a guilty plea is automatically entered in your case and you can be sentenced to jail or prison for the maximum amount of time allowed under the law for your original offense. However, if you successfully complete the program, the charges are entirely dismissed.
Who is Eligible for a Pretrial Diversion Program?
Not everyone will be offered the option to avoid conviction and a criminal record. If you have a history of criminal conduct or are accused of a violent crime or an OVI/DUI, this may not be an option for you. However, you may be eligible for a pretrial diversion program if:
- This is your first offense
- It is a non-violent offense
- Your actions were influenced by addiction
- The offense is for passing bad checks
Intervention in Lieu of Conviction
A separate type of diversion program in Ohio is known as intervention in lieu of conviction (IILC). Under this program, you can complete alcohol or drug rehabilitation and years of community supervision, better known as probation, to avoid conviction. Like other pretrial diversion programs, there will be many conditions associated with probation. You must not use drugs or alcohol and must submit to testing. You may need to attend counseling, complete community service, and make restitution to your victims.
By completing this program, you avoid a criminal conviction because the court dismisses your original charges. You may also be eligible to have the record of this arrest sealed, but you should discuss this option with an attorney first.
If you fail to complete any portion of your alcohol or drug rehabilitation or violate a term of your community supervision, you will be removed from the IILC program. You will then be found guilty of the original offense and can be sentenced to the maximum jail or prison term allowed for that offense.
Who is Eligible for IILC?
Individuals with prior violent felonies are not eligible for IILC. However, other non-violent or lower level felony and misdemeanor convictions do not automatically disqualify you. Crimes commonly eligible for IILC are:
- Unauthorized use of a vehicle
- Misuse of a credit card
- Passing bad checks
- Some non-violent drug offenses
Additionally, to be eligible for IILC, you must:
- Be addicted to drugs or alcohol,
- Suffer from a mental illness,
- Have an intellectual disability, or
- Be a victim of human trafficking.
You can only go through IILC once. If you are charged with a subsequent offense after completing IILC, you may not use this option again.
Cincinnati Criminal Lawyer Bradley J. Groene Can Help
If your crimes were motivated by alcohol or drug addiction, it is very important for you to fight to receive treatment instead of simply being sent to jail for a drug crime. You deserve help so you can move forward with a healthy and productive life. When you have the care and aid necessary to fight your addiction, you can get a better job, go back to school, and build better relationships with your friends and family. Bradley J. Groene understands that if you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, going to jail or prison is not the answer. He will fight for you to go through a pretrial diversion program or IILC. If this is not possible, he will aggressively represent you in court to help you avoid the maximum punishment for the offense.
To learn more about Ohio diversion programs, call Bradley J. Groene of Luftman, Heck & Associates, LLP at (513) 338-1890.