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Types of Alternative Sentences


Being convicted of a crime does not necessarily mean you’ll be required to do jail time. It will be up to the judge to decide whether an alternative sentence will be granted and their decision will be dependent on:

  • The type of offense
  • The severity of the offense
  • Age of the defendant
  • The defendant’s criminal history
  • The effect of the crime on the victim
  • The defendant’s remorse

Below are six types of alternative sentences an offender can complete. Alternative sentences can be made up of a combination of these sentences. If you’re unsure whether an alternative sentence is an option for you, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney to look over your case and advise you appropriately.

Deferred Adjudication/Pretrial Division

Dependent on the offense, charges can be dropped if the defendant meets certain conditions set by the court or the prosecutor. Upon meeting the required conditions, the defendant’s charges can be dropped by either the court or prosecution. Deferred adjudication requires the defendant to plead guilty to their charges. Then, the court decides the conditions that must be met for charges to be dropped. Pretrial division does not require the defendant to plead guilty and the prosecution will usually set up the specified conditions and will also drop charges when the conditions are met.


One of the most commonly used alternative sentences, fines for criminal offenses are substantially larger that those charged on traffic tickets. Fines are usually used to not only punish the offender, but also compensate the state and stop the offender from participating in future criminal activity.


Similar to fines, restitution payments are sent to the victim of the crime rather than the state. Judges usually order restitution to help a victim recover from an economic loss caused by the offense. The payment is not only to help the victim but also put them in a financially stable place. Restitutions and fines can be ordered at the same time and in combination with the other alternative sentences on this list.

There are a few more alternative sentences that could be added by the judge dependent on the offense. If you’re facing charges and are interested in alternative sentencing, reach out to our experienced criminal defense attorneys today. The criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, LLP. can advise you on the options best suited for your case.


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