Also known as community or non-custodial sentencing, alternative sentencing is a collective term used in criminal justice for all the different ways the courts can punish a defendant who has been convicted of committing an offense. Simply put, it gives the courts other types of punishment it can use rather than sending you to jail.
Alternative sentences can be offered to you and may include various combinations of the following: a suspended sentence, probation, fines, restitution, community service, and deferred adjudication/pretrial diversion. Alternative sentencing can be a powerful tool for judges and courts to impose a punishment that is more tailored to the crime and provides the best means of having a positive impact on society, and you as the defendant.
Unfortunately, these alternative sentencing programs cannot be used in all cases. You, as the defendant, must meet certain specific criteria. Usually, the type of crime that you committed and whether you have any prior convictions, will determine whether you are eligible or not. If you qualify, however, alternative sentencing programs can and do offer you an opportunity to avoid the type of punishment that could ruin the remainder of your life.
If you are facing criminal charges, your Long Beach alternative sentencing lawyer understands that you are in an extremely stressful situation. A criminal conviction can destroy your life, negatively affect your family, destroy your reputation, diminish your ability to earn a living, and even take your freedom from you. Consult with your criminal defense lawyer immediately and get all the facts on how alternative sentencing can mitigate the impact of a criminal conviction on your life, and your family.
What Are Some of the Requirements I Need for Alternative Sentencing?
As stated, alternative sentencing is not always an option for everyone, and you do have to meet certain requirements. Some of the factors that a judge may consider in determining whether you are an appropriate candidate for alternative sentencing may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Whether you were charged with a violent crime, such as robbery, rape, or murder.
- Any previous criminal history you may have.
- Whether you are currently on probation or parole for another crime you committed.
- Your prior success or failure to complete previous probation or parole.
- Whether you used a weapon in committing the crime.
- Whether you are currently at risk of harming yourself or anyone else.
It really depends a great deal on the circumstances of your crime, but alternative sentencing is available for many misdemeanor crimes, and some felony offenses as well. If you do not have any serious or violent felonies on your record and you have not committed a crime that automatically disqualifies you from probation under the law, alternative sentencing may be a legally viable consideration.
The court also may take into consideration the following factors:
- Your risks and needs.
- The nature and exact circumstances of the crime charged.
- Is imprisonment needed to protect the public?
You probably are aware that any serious interaction with the court is a complex and difficult undertaking. But in most serious cases, the rest of your life can be affected. By consulting with your professional Long Beach alternative sentencing lawyer, you can make sure that the right paths are decided on and implemented. Alternative sentencing can be highly beneficial to you, your family, and your future. Your criminal defense lawyer will undoubtedly make every effort to use it if you qualify.
What are Some Examples of Alternative Sentencing?
California allows for several different forms of alternative sentencing which can be used as a punishment instead of you doing jail time. It can also be used in conjunction with a reduced or modified sentence.
Some of these alternatives to jail include the following:
- Electronic Monitoring, House Arrest, or Home Detention – House arrest, electronic monitoring, and home detention are types of alternative sentencing that limit and/or monitor your mobility. In some cases, you are required to stay at home, while others limit your ability to leave a particular area to do specific tasks.
- Work Release or Work Furlough Programs – In this program you would go to a designated worksite, usually daily, to perform your job. At the end of the workday, you can go home or return to a housing dormitory facility instead of living at the county jail.
- Drug Courts – Drug treatment options can be an incredibly positive type of alternative sentencing if you’ve been convicted of a drug crime. It is a strict program that usually includes random drug testing and can be extremely helpful and successful if you are highly motivated.
- Community Service – Here you are required to work in city organizations or perform cleanup duties in and around the city. In some cases, volunteer work with a registered non-profit may also be used to fulfill community service requirements.
These are only some of the programs available, and your alternative sentencing lawyer will know the details of your case, and which program may fit you, and the courts, needs.
Can Alternative Sentencing Help Me, and Does It Work?
Alternative sentencing is desirable because theoretically, it may reduce recidivism by allowing the offenders to avoid jail time, institutionalization and become a more stable contributing member of society. At the same time, alternative sentencing drastically reduces the state’s corrections costs.
Overcrowding of California’s county and state prisons is also a problem that alternative sentencing positively affects. If your lawyer can get you into a program that suits your crime, and provides consequences, you stay out of jail and help yourself in many ways.
We all know that any jail time will hurt your future ability to work, your finances, your income, and your relationships. The right form of alternative sentencing can satisfy the court and put you back on track to a prosperous and bright future.
I Want to Know More About Alternative Sentencing in Long Beach?
If you are arrested and convicted of a crime, consult with the Long Beach law offices of Jerry Nicholson. Their team of professional, empathetic lawyers is intimately familiar with alternative sentencing and how it can benefit you. Don’t wait, and let the courts decide your fate.