Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Drug Court in Illinois

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Illinois Criminal Law » Drug Court in Illinois

The Drug Court Treatment Act was authorized to reduce the incidence of drug use, drug addiction, and crimes committed as a result of drug use and drug addiction in the State of Illinois. Pursuant to the Act, each judicial circuit within the State of Illinois must establish a drug court program. A Defendant may attend drug court as an alternative to a term of imprisonment.

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To be eligible for Drug Court, the Defendant must admit drug use or addiction, demonstrate a willingness to participate in the program, must not have been convicted of a crime of violence within the past 10 years, and must not have previously been admitted to a drug court program. If the Defendant is charged with certain Class 2 felonies or greater offenses, or if they have previously participated in a drug court program, then the prosecutor must agree to proceed with drug court.

The exact requirements for Drug Court vary depending on the judicial circuit. The Rock Island County Drug Court, also known as SOAR (Sobriety, Opportunity, Accountability, Responsibility) Program began in 2000. The Rock Island County program has three different phases. The first phase lasts for 4 to 8 weeks. During that phase, the participant must attend 2 to 3 probation appointments per week, make weekly court appearances, attend 2-3 weekly AA meetings, and undergo drug testing 3 times each week. The Second phase lasts 8 to 12 weeks. The participant attends 1 to 2 probation appointments, every other week court appearances, must attend 1-2 weekly AA meetings, undergo drug tests twice a week, attend inpatient or outpatient treatment, maintain employment and/or education plan, and progress on their payment plan for any fines and fees. The third phase lasts from 12 weeks to 30 months. During this phase, the participant must continue their treatment as recommended, continue participation in support services and the education/work plan, report for probation at a minimum of every other week, attend court once to twice per month, undergo random drug testing (minimum of once per month), and continue paying towards their fees and fines. Upon completion of the phases, the participant will graduate from drug court.

If the Defendant does not satisfactorily complete the assigned program, is not benefiting from the education, treatment, or rehabilitation, has engaged in criminal conduct rendering them unsuitable for the program, or has otherwise violated the terms or conditions of the program, the court may impose reasonable sanctions, including imprisonment or dismissal of the Defendant from the program. The Court then may reinstate the criminal proceedings against the Defendant. If the Defendant successfully completes the program, the court may dismiss the original charges against the Defendant, or successfully terminate the Defendant’s sentence.

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