Alternative Prosecution Programs
The State’s Attorney’s Alternative Prosecution Programs satisfy the moral duty we all have to help people while also making the county safer by treating root causes of low-level criminal offenses.
Additionally, diversion programs reduce crime and alleviate docket pressure in the courts. Because mental illness should not be criminalized – period.
Our misdemeanor and felony divisions offer first-time, non-violent offenders the opportunity to keep a conviction from being permanently entered on their record. In exchange, the offender must accept responsibility for their criminal conduct.
The programs give deserving defendants a second chance to improve their lives and to avoid the stigma of a criminal conviction. Our office also focuses on Rehabilitative Services.
In order to keep Lake County Safer and fairer, we partner with community organizations like the Wellness Center, which use medical professionals and licensed counselors to connect those in need with mental health services. We also partner with the A Way Out Program, which helps remove the stigma of substance use by creating additional treatment access points, reducing substance-related harms, and re-framing the role law enforcement plays in community safety.
In 2021, Lake County specialty courts expanded, offering a potential alternative to prison for non-violent offenders who are suffering from mental health problems.
In the Lake County Bar Association’s July 2022 Docket, State’s Attorney Rinehart wrote an article on how diversion programs led by our office can reduce crime and alleviate docket pressure in our courthouse, making Lake County safer and fairer for all.
- How can a defendant apply to the Alternative Prosecution Program?
A referral may be made by a Judge, State’s Attorney, Private Attorney, Public Defender, or Police Officer. The request for a program application will usually be made at the defendant’s first court appearance.
- What is the cost of applying to the Alternative Prosecution Program?
An applicant must pay a $70 non-refundable application and drug testing fee. A positive drug test will not keep a defendant out of the program.
- What happens after the fee is paid for the Alternative Prosecution Program?
An applicant must schedule an interview with an Assistant State’s Attorney. If the defendant is not rejected after this meeting and if the applicant meets all the necessary requirements for acceptance into the program, a meeting with Alternative Prosecution Citizen’s Panel will be scheduled.
- Under the Alternative Prosecution Program, when is the next court date?
After the Assistant State’s Attorney reviews the file, and if the applicant is accepted into the program, the defendant will sign a program agreement, and plead guilty in open court at the next scheduled court date.
- Are there additional fees for the Alternative Prosecution Program?
Yes, the defendant will be assessed additional fees and will be ordered to pay any outstanding restitution.
- How long does it take to complete the Alternative Prosecution Program?
The program will last approximately one year.