Are There Any Programs Available for First Time Offenders?
For a misdemeanor, something called court supervision always available, which means that for a period of time you have to follow certain conditions and stay out of trouble, and in return no judgment or conviction is entered against you. On a theft case, if you go into a Wal-Mart and steal five t-shirts and they charge you, but that’s your only offense, the state will likely give you court supervision for a year, order you to stay out of Wal-Mart, and they’ll order you pay restitution or return the shirts.
They probably will have you pay a fine and do some public service, and if you do all of those things, at the end of the year, there is no conviction whatsoever; that’s a great option for first time theft case, since there’s no conviction entered. You can honestly say in any job or school application that you’ve never been convicted of a crime, even if you were charged and pled guilty.
That’s one alternative that gives you a break, but there is a first offender’s special probation here in Illinois which gives you a second chance; if you successfully complete the probation, at the end they’ll dismiss it as if nothing happen, which means you have a chance to go on with your life and not scar yourself for doing something stupid when you were young.
Can Someone Be Face Probation or Community Service With a Theft Charge?
Absolutely, but it depends on the level of theft. For a Class I theft that’s over $10,000 and less than a $100,000, probation is always an option, although you can still get 6 months of county jail time in Lake County. For a Class II felony, you can get up to 36 months of work release, for which you get to go to work during the day, but you still report to the jail every night; you pay for that every week and it’s expensive.
There are all kinds of conditions they can put on probation, and public service is one of them; they can have you do a lot of it, or they may have you do some sort of counseling. Many people who steal stuff, have a drug and alcohol problem, which is often the reason for some conditions, such as an order to be employed or in school and not sitting around watching TV or playing video games. There are so many possible probation conditions that can be assigned; it depends on what you work out with the prosecutor, which is much better than waiting to leave it up to the judge, who might get your case on a bad day and give you 500 hours of public service and not be at all sympathetic to you, because you got yourself in this mess.
What if Someone Stole, But Can’t Remember?
For any criminal offense, you have to have the requisite mental state, which means that you knowingly did something; to be excused for your behavior because of an illness, you would have to be so whacked out as to not know your own name, or what day it is and it can’t be self-imposed. You can’t drink yourself into a stupor or get high on drugs and claim you didn’t know what you were doing when you were stealing; that won’t work.
The fact that you were stupidly drunk or drugged out is on you; you’re responsible for your own actions; otherwise, everybody in the world just claim they were too messed up. Unfortunately for you, the law sees it as your problem.
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