I frequently get calls from clients inquiring about different options for avoiding a felony conviction for a drug case. An often misunderstood type of first time felony drug offender probation that allows defendants to avoid having a felony conviction is commonly known as 1410 or 410 Probation. Here's how it works. When you are sentenced to 1410 or 410 Probation, you plead guilty to the drug offense at the time of sentencing. A Motion to Vacate your plea is entered and continued until the termination date. Once you successfully complete your probation, your conviction is vacated, as if it never happened. So, when someone runs your criminal record, it doesn't show a conviction. However, a record of your arrest, and the court files and records will remain. A background search will turn up those records and an employer may not hire you once they find out that you were once charged with a felony drug case. The only way to remove the court records and the arrest record is to expunge or seal your records. You can expunge the case 5 years after you complete your 1410 or 410 Probation. The law does allow you to seal your case 4 years after completion of your 1410 or 410 probation. However, expungement is much more thorough then sealing and sealing takes much longer than expungement so you are better off waiting for the expungement. 1410 or 410 Probation is a great alternative for first time drug offenders which allows them to avoid having a felony drug conviction on their record which will follow them around the rest of their lives. Of course, in order to expunge or seal you must not catch any other cases after you completed your 1410 or 410 probation.
On a side note, 1410 or 410 probation may not preclude an alien from being deported by Immigration. There is at least one case from this jurisdiction, Gill v. Ashcroft, 2003, which held that a sentence of 1410 or 410 probation is considered a conviction under immigration law. Other jurisdictions have held differently and this issue may very well make its way to the United States Supreme Court. But the point is that practitioners need to be aware of the potential immigration consequences of a sentence of 1410 or 410 probation.
For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at www.thelegaldefenders.com or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.