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(730 ILCS 5/5-6-3.6)
First Time Weapon Offense Program.
(a) The General Assembly has sought to promote public safety, reduce recidivism, and conserve valuable resources of the criminal justice system through the creation of diversion programs for non-violent offenders. This amendatory Act of the 103rd General Assembly establishes a program for first-time, non-violent offenders charged with certain weapons possession offenses. The General Assembly recognizes some persons, particularly in areas of high crime or poverty, may have experienced trauma that contributes to poor decision making skills, and the creation of a diversionary program poses a greater benefit to the community and the person than incarceration. Under this program, a court, with the consent of the defendant and the State's Attorney, may sentence a defendant charged with an unlawful use of weapons offense under Section 24-1 of the Criminal Code of 2012 or aggravated unlawful use of a weapon offense under Section 24-1.6 of the Criminal Code of 2012, if punishable as a Class 4 felony or lower, to a First Time Weapon Offense Program.
(b) A defendant is not eligible for this Program if:
(1) the offense was committed during the commission
of a violent offense as defined in subsection (h) of this Section;
(2) he or she has previously been convicted or placed
on probation or conditional discharge for any violent offense under the laws of this State, the laws of any other state, or the laws of the United States;
(3) he or she had a prior successful completion of
the First Time Weapon Offense Program under this Section;
(4) he or she has previously been adjudicated a
delinquent minor for the commission of a violent offense;
(5) (blank); or
(6) he or she has an existing order of protection
issued against him or her.
(b-5) In considering whether a defendant shall be sentenced to the First Time Weapon Offense Program, the court shall consider the following:
(1) the age, immaturity, or limited mental capacity
(2) the nature and circumstances of the offense;
(3) whether participation in the Program is in the
interest of the defendant's rehabilitation, including any employment or involvement in community, educational, training, or vocational programs;
(4) whether the defendant suffers from trauma, as
supported by documentation or evaluation by a licensed professional; and
(5) the potential risk to public safety.
(c) For an offense committed on or after January 1, 2018 (the effective date of Public Act 100-3) whenever an eligible person pleads guilty to an unlawful use of weapons offense under Section 24-1 of the Criminal Code of 2012 or aggravated unlawful use of a weapon offense under Section 24-1.6 of the Criminal Code of 2012, which is punishable as a Class 4 felony or lower, the court, with the consent of the defendant and the State's Attorney, may, without entering a judgment, sentence the defendant to complete the First Time Weapon Offense Program. When a defendant is placed in the Program, the court shall defer further proceedings in the case until the conclusion of the period or until the filing of a petition alleging violation of a term or condition of the Program. Upon violation of a term or condition of the Program, the court may enter a judgment on its original finding of guilt and proceed as otherwise provided by law. Upon fulfillment of the terms and conditions of the Program, the court shall discharge the person and dismiss the proceedings against the person.
(d) The Program shall be at least 6 months and not to exceed 24 months, as determined by the court at the recommendation of the Program administrator and the State's Attorney. The Program administrator may be appointed by the Chief Judge of each Judicial Circuit.
(e) The conditions of the Program shall be that the defendant:
(1) not violate any criminal statute of this State
or any other jurisdiction;
(2) refrain from possessing a firearm or other
(7) attend and participate in any Program activities
deemed required by the Program administrator, such as: counseling sessions, in-person and over the phone check-ins, and educational classes; and
(f) The Program may, in addition to other conditions, require that the defendant:
(1) obtain or attempt to obtain employment;
(2) attend educational courses designed to prepare
the defendant for obtaining a high school diploma or to work toward passing high school equivalency testing or to work toward completing a vocational training program;
(3) refrain from having in his or her body the
presence of any illicit drug prohibited by the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act or the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, unless prescribed by a physician, and submit samples of his or her blood or urine or both for tests to determine the presence of any illicit drug;
(4) perform community service;
(5) pay all fines, assessments, fees, and costs; and
(6) comply with such other reasonable conditions as
(g) There may be only one discharge and dismissal under this Section. If a person is convicted of any offense which occurred within 5 years subsequent to a discharge and dismissal under this Section, the discharge and dismissal under this Section shall be admissible in the sentencing proceeding for that conviction as evidence in aggravation.
(h) For purposes of this Section, "violent offense" means any offense in which bodily harm was inflicted or force was used against any person or threatened against any person; any offense involving the possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon; any offense involving sexual conduct, sexual penetration, or sexual exploitation; violation of an order of protection, stalking, hate crime, domestic battery, or any offense of domestic violence.
(Source: P.A. 102-245, eff. 8-3-21; 102-1109, eff. 12-21-22; 103-370, eff. 7-28-23.)