If you have been charged with a crime, what you ultimately want to avoid is a conviction. A conviction will tarnish your record and show up on background checks, causing you to miss out on future opportunities.
Fortunately, you have options. If you wish to avoid a criminal conviction or jail time, possible alternatives can include court supervision, diversion programs, or probation. In Illinois, one such alternative is TASC probation, which benefits individuals who have been charged with a crime and struggle with substance abuse or addiction.
If you're wondering exactly how TASC probation can help you avoid traditional prosecution and a conviction, just keep reading. Below, we'll answer some of your most pertinent questions about TASC.
What Exactly is TASC?
TASC stands for Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, an Illinois not-for-profit organization. Through their offices in Illinois counties, TASC offers numerous services and resources for individuals with substance abuse and mental health challenges. These resources include tailored probation programs, which are called -- you guessed it -- TASC probation.
Defendants who are deemed appropriate candidates for TASC probation can participate in a program designed by the court and TASC. Successful completion of the probation terms will allow the initial conviction to be vacated, with an opportunity for future expungement.
What Differentiates TASC Probation from a Standard Probation?
The most distinguishable difference between TASC probation and standard probation is the permanence of the guilty plea and conviction.
Standard probation programs usually offer an alternative to serving a prison sentence, and it can benefit many individuals. However, standard probation might not help someone who wants to eventually expunge their record, because, in most instances, the initial guilty plea and conviction won't be vacated.
A TASC probation, if completed, will allow the initial conviction to be vacated. As outlined in Section 40-5 of the Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse and Dependency Act (20 ILCS 301/40-5), individuals who fall under certain criteria may elect to receive treatment for addiction under the supervision of a ‘designated program'. TASC is one such designated program, and individuals who are assessed and approved for TASC probation can, upon completion of their probation, vacate the permanent conviction standard probation would leave on their record.
How Does TASC Probation Work?
A TASC assessment may be requested by the defendant through their judge, parole officer, or attorney. Following the assessment, if the defendant is accepted as a candidate for TASC probation, they will be required to plead guilty and abide by the instructions for their probation period.
During the probation period, the defendant will receive counseling and treatment for substance abuse or mental health challenges. They may also be required to fulfill other conditions, such as court appearances, community service, or enrollment in classes.
A defendant who fulfills the terms of their TASC probation will have their initial conviction vacated by the court. In the future, they may opt to expunge their record if eligible.
Who is Eligible for TASC Probation?
Individuals with addiction or mental health challenges, who are charged with a non-violent crime and do not have a significant prior history or multiple pending cases, are typically eligible for TASC probation.
The following factors, however, may cause a defendant to be ineligible for TASC probation:
The alleged crime is a violent crime as defined by Illinois law, including, but not limited to: murder, sexual assault, robbery, arson, battery, assault;
The alleged crime is in violation of specific sections of the Cannabis Control Act, Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, or the Illinois Controlled Substances Act;
The defendant has two or more prior convictions for a violent crime;
The defendant has any additional felony charges pending against them;
The defendant is already on parole or probation, and their parole or probation authority does not consent to the defendant's participation in TASC probation;
The defendant has been admitted to a designated program on more than two occasions within any consecutive two-year period;
The defendant has been convicted of residential burglary and has a record of one or more felony convictions;
The alleged crime is a DUI or a similar violation under local ordinance laws;
The alleged crime is reckless homicide or reckless homicide of an unborn child, caused by driving under the influence
How Can TASC Probation Help Me?
For individuals who are facing criminal charges and struggling with substance abuse or addiction, TASC probation can offer both a second chance and invaluable assistance in overcoming their mental health challenges. Through its many resources, TASC helps individuals rebuild their lives and work towards future success.
If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges and battling addiction, TASC may be an excellent option. To learn more about your eligibility for TASC or seek legal aid at any point in the TASC probation process, please give us a call at 630-261-9098. We are here to help.
With over sixty years of combined legal experience, the attorneys of Dolci & Weiland have helped individuals fight criminal charges and complete diversion programs, TASC probation included. We are here to provide you with the dedicated legal representation you deserve, and to help you secure a favorable outcome and move forward with your life.