Ohio Legislature Amends Intervention in Lieu of Conviction (ILC) Statute, Broadening Eligibility

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Intervention in Lieu of Conviction or ILC is a program in which an eligible offender charged with a low-level non-violent felony offense, who committed the offense due to drug or alcohol usage or mental illness or intellectual disability, has the opportunity to obtain a dismissal of the charge(s) after completing court-ordered treatment.  This is a huge opportunity for a person be rehabilitated, without having the stigma and complications resulting from a felony conviction.

Originally, ILC was limited to first-time offenders.  Through a series of amendments to the statute, ILC was made available to offenders with a prior non-violent felony conviction, but only if participation was recommended by the prosecuting attorney.  As you would expect, recommendations from the prosecuting attorney were often few and far between.  Furthermore, offenders who have already “been through” ILC in the past were ineligible to participate in ILC again in a subsequent case.

Effective October 29, 2018, the Ohio Legislature has amended the ILC statute to broaden eligibility for this important program.  Perhaps it is due to the current drug crisis, plaguing our communities, and the recognition that income and employment opportunities are essential in a person maintaining his/her sobriety and increasing the odds that a rehabilitated person does not re-offend.  Thanks to the amendments, regardless of his/her prior record, a person charged with an eligible offense may be eligible to participate in ILC, so long as he/she has not previously plead guilty or been convicted of “any offense of violence”.  Thus, individuals with one or more prior felony convictions may still be eligible for ILC, and a recommendation from the prosecuting attorney (although helpful), is no longer required.  Furthermore, a person may now participate in ILC in a subsequent offense, even though the had “been through” ILC in the past.  The decision is left to the discretion of the trial judge.  Obviously, the lengthier the prior record and failed attempts at treatment, the less likely that the trial judge would grant a subsequent opportunity, but a person would at least be eligible for consideration.

The Ohio Legislature also broadened the types of offenses that are eligible for consideration.  As of October 29, 2018, a person without a prior conviction for “any offense of violence” may be granted ILC, so long as:

  • The present offense is not any of the following:
    1. A felony of the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd
    2. An offense of violence.
    3. A violation of divisions (A)(1) or (2) of the Aggravated Vehicular Homicide statute.
    4. A violation of division (A)(1) of the Aggravated Vehicular Assault statute.
    5. An OVI offense.
    6. Any offense for which the sentencing court is required to impose a mandatory prison term.
  • The offender is not charged with any of the following:
    1. Corrupting Another with Drugs
    2. Illegal Manufacture of Drugs, Illegal Cultivation of Marijuana, Methamphetamine Offenses
    3. Illegal Administration or Distribution of Anabolic Steroids
    4. Trafficking or Aggravated Trafficking in Drugs that is a felony of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th degree
    5. Possession of Drugs that is a felony of the 1st or 2nd degree
  • The alleged victim of the offense was not 65 years of age or older, permanently or totally disabled, under 13 years of age, or a peace officer engaged in the officer’s official duties at the time of the offense.
  • If the person is charged with Tampering with Drugs, the alleged violation did not result in physical harm to any person.
  • The offender possesses a Commercial Driver’s License, and the present offense would result in the offender being disqualified or subject to any other sanction under Chapter 4506.

Interestingly, the changes to the ILC statute go into effect on October 29, 2018, regardless as to when the alleged offense occurred.  I have already had a number of cases in which the hearing on my client’s ILC motion was postponed to after October 29, 2018, so that the client could take advantage of the changes in the statute.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in Southwest Ohio and would like a free consultation to determine whether ILC is an option, please contact Criminal Defense Attorney Jonathan Horwitz at Horwitz & Horwitz, LLC as soon as possible.