A person charged with violating a municipal ordinance, traffic violation, or misdemeanor offense faces several possible sentencing outcomes. The least desirable outcome is typically a conviction.
Court Supervision is a way of avoiding a conviction on your record. It is essentially an agreement between you and the court. If you hold up your end of the agreement and complete what is required of you, the court terminates your supervision “satisfactory” and does not enter a conviction on your record.
When is supervision available?
Illinois courts may order supervision for most non-felony offenses following a guilty plea or a finding of guilty at trial. In other words, it is only possible to get supervision on traffic tickets and misdemeanor criminal cases. It is not possible to get supervision on a felony criminal case.
How do I get supervision?
Attorneys often work out an agreement with the State or Local prosecutors for a supervision sentence in exchange for a plea of guilty. Courts may also order supervision for eligible persons pleading guilty without representation.
Additionally, if you get a minor traffic ticket, many courts allow you to mail the ticket in with a payment and request court supervision. Often times you are also required to complete traffic safety school.
How many supervisions can I get?
For traffic tickets, you are allowed two court supervisions within a 12-month period. However, it is important to know that the court is not obligated to give you court supervision. Even if you are eligible, a prosecutor or judge may not agree to court supervision.
For criminal cases, you are typically only allowed one supervision. It is rare to get supervision twice for the same offense.
What are the terms of supervision?
When you mail in your ticket and request supervision, the terms of the supervision are stated right on the ticket. Usually, it includes paying a fine and completing a traffic course.
In court, the terms of supervision are open to negotiation. It can be any combination of fines, traffic school, community service, or even Sheriff’s Work Alternative Program.
But the court will almost always order a person to pay a fine and court costs upon receiving supervision. In every case, a person may not commit any new offenses during the period of supervision. In many cases, a court ordering supervision will set a future date at the end of the supervision term for the person to appear in court and show that the supervision terms were completed successfully.
How long does supervision last?
The supervision order will last for a set period of time. The period will vary and can last up to two years for a misdemeanor charge. For traffic violations, the period is typically 90 or 120 days in Cook County or DuPage County.
What if I don’t complete supervision?
If you fail to complete the terms of supervision, the prosecutor may file a Petition To Revoke Supervision. If the judge agrees with the prosecutor and terminates your supervision “unsatisfactory,” you will receive a conviction on your record. We frequently represent clients who are at risk of losing their supervision and we can often fix the problem for them.
What about CDL drivers?
A supervision order does not help everyone. If you are a CDL driver or planning on becoming one, a supervision order will still appear on your Motor Vehicle Report, which may affect your employment prospects or your insurance rates. If you have a CDL you should let your attorney know as soon as possible.
People holding CDL licenses may still have a way to avoid the entry of a traffic violation on their record. In many cases, an attorney will be able to present information to a prosecutor, which will persuade the prosecutor to amend the charge to a non-moving offense, which will not affect their driving record.
What about non-US citizens?
Non-US citizens must carefully consider entering a plea of guilty in exchange for an agreed supervision order. Federal immigration authorities can, and often do, consider a person to have committed an offense when they have a supervision sentence. This may affect the determination of a person’s request to remain or re-enter the United States, or a person’s request to change their immigration status.
A non-US citizen charged with any offense should make their attorney aware of their immigration status as soon as possible. In many cases, an attorney will be able to present information to a prosecutor, which will persuade the prosecutor to amend the charge to an offense, which may lessen the impact on a person’s immigration status.
Are some offenses ineligible for supervision?
Yes, there are quite a few offenses for which a judge may not order a supervision sentence some examples are:
- Second DUI
- Second aggravated speeding
- Speeding in a construction or school zone and creating a potential hazard for workers or school children
- Passing a school bus loading children
- Second violation of driving without insurance
- Second violation of displaying false evidence of insurance
- Second violation of driving with registration suspended due to insurance violation
- Certain offenses relating to truck and weight regulations
Can a person charged with an ineligible offense still get supervision?
Even if a person is charged with an offense, which does not allow for supervision all is not lost. In many cases, an attorney will be able to present information to a prosecutor, which will persuade the prosecutor to amend the charge to an offense, which allows for a supervision sentence. In those cases, a person’s driving and or criminal history is an important factor in determining whether the prosecutor will make an amendment. Other factors include a person’s work history, family situation, and community involvement. Persons charged with an ineligible offense should
consult with an attorney as soon as possible.