Alternative sentencing options allow you to avoid jail or prison time. Which options are available would depend on the circumstances of your case. Judges can determine alternative sentencing options based on multiple factors, such as your age, nature of the crime or prior criminal history (if there is one). These are only a few of many possible examples what might be considered. Options for alternative sentencing may include:
- Probation: With this option, you are allowed to stay in the community instead of serving time in jail. However, there is a catch. You will have to meet the requirements of your probation. Conditions during probation could include performing community service, meeting with your probation officer, refraining from drug and alcohol use, attending addiction counseling or making regular court appearances.
- Suspended sentencing: A judge may refrain from or sentencing. They may also decide on a sentence but refrain from carrying out. A suspended sentence may or may not come with conditions. In the former case, you may be required to meet the conditions of probation or a treatment program.
- Rehab: If you were sentenced for a nonviolent drug crime, you could be given the option to check into a certified inpatient or outpatient addiction rehabilitation center.
- Community service: You may be required to perform a certain number of community service hours. With this option, you report to a supervisor who logs your hours. Community service may be performed in conjunction with other alternative sentencing options.
- Diversion programs: Diversion programs give you the opportunity to have your charges dismissed for meeting certain conditions. Pretrial diversion is where your case is halted so you can meet certain conditions. Deferred adjudication is where you have already entered a no contest or guilty plea, but the court does not enter a judgment of guilt. Both options occur before sentencing or a conviction.
- Fines or restitution: You could be ordered to pay fines to the state. Alternatively, you could be ordered to pay restitution to victims who were affected by the crime. There are cases where you could be ordered to pay both fines and
- House arrest: You may be able to avoid jail time by serving a period of confinement in your residence, possibly with some exceptions. If you are eligible for house arrest, you may be required to comply with electronic monitoring and other conditions.
You may be required to fulfill one or more alternative sentencing options at the same time. Eligibility for alternative sentencing options can vary. For instance, a person convicted of a violent crime may not be able to avoid or reduce jail time by attending rehab. Prior criminal convictions could also limit some of the options we have listed.
Have questions about alternative sentencing options or your case? The San Jose criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Daniel Jensen, LLP. could discuss the possibility of pursing these options.