Want to avoid a felony or misdemeanor conviction? Intervention may be for you. Ohio has a statute that allows people charged with certain crimes to receive a second chance. R.C. 2951.041, titled Intervention in Lieu of Conviction, provides that if a person is charged with an offense and the court has reason to believe that drug or alcohol usage by the offender was a factor leading to the criminal offense with which the offender is charged or that, at the time of committing that offense, the offender had a mental illness or was a person with intellectual disability and that the mental illness or status as a person with intellectual disability was a factor leading to the offender's criminal behavior, the court may accept, prior to the entry of a guilty plea, the offender's request for intervention in lieu of conviction.
In pursuing this option the accused must state that drug or alcohol usage by the offender or a mental illness or intellectual disability was a factor leading to the criminal offense with which the offender is charged. When requesting intervention in lieu of conviction an accused must waive their right to a speedy trial and the time period within which the grand jury may consider an indictment against the offender and some other rights normally granted to an accused.
The court can schedule the request for a hearing and consider the request or it may reject an offender's request without a hearing. If the court elects to consider an offender's request, the court shall conduct a hearing to determine whether the offender is eligible under this section for intervention in lieu of conviction and shall stay all criminal proceedings pending the outcome of the hearing.
To be eligible for intervention in lieu of conviction the accused must be assessed by an appropriately credentialed and licensed mental health professional who must submit a plan to the court for its consideration.
Further, to be eligible for intervention in lieu of conviction the court must make certain findings. These findings include that the accused has not previously been convicted of a felony offense of violence; has not been through an intervention in lieu program or similar program before; is not charged with a felony of the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree; no mandatory prison nor jail sentence is required for the charge; the offense charged cannot be a violation of R.C. 2925.02, R.C. 2925.04 or RC 2925.06, is not charged with a violation of R.C. 2925.03 that is a felony of the first, second, third, or fourth degree, and is not charged with a violation of R.C. 2925.11 that is a felony of the first, second, or third degree; the alleged victim of the offense was not sixty-five years of age or older, permanently and totally disabled, under thirteen years of age, or a peace officer engaged in the officer's official duties at the time of the alleged offense; if the accused is charged with a violation of R.C. 2925.24, the alleged violation did not result in physical harm to any person, and the offender previously has not been treated for drug abuse.; that the addiction and/or intellectual disability was a cause for the accused to commit the crime; that an appropriate plan is in place to reduce the likelihood of a future crime; and that the accused is willing to comply with all terms and conditions imposed by the court.
If the court grants a person's request for intervention in lieu of conviction, but the person fails to comply with all terms and conditions imposed by the court, the court can summons the person to appear in court and proceed directly to sentencing on the underlying offense. If the person is granted intervention in lieu of conviction and completes their program successfully, the case will be dismissed!