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What are some prison alternatives for a first time offender or a non-violent crime?

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Been offered 5 year prison sentence for a grand theft case which includes some deal in stolen property and drugs. What are some prison alternatives to the 5 year prison sentence being offered? State is still willing to negotiate.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. You need to have an attorney do the negotiating for you. One of the first things an attorney needs to look at is your score sheet and the second is the atmosphere in which you are entering a plea (i.e., the judge and the nature of the offense combined). A local attorney who practices in that court would be ideal. Alternatives to a straight 5 years in prison can be a lengthier term of probation or community control if the state agrees the person could be amenable to that as well as taking a look at any mitigation factors (assisting the prosecution, drug or mental health issues, lack of history, time between history, family background, etc) or offering a large restitution figure if possible to get shorter probation and less time. If the state is still willing to negotiate, it would be worth making sure your attorney discusses possible options with you and knows what you are willing to accept before negotiating with the State further.


  2. The first alternative I would explore is an "intervention" or "deferred prosecution" program. Basically, you never change your plea, you are always "not guilty," but you go on some sort of probation supervision. If you successfully complete the program, the state attorney will dismiss the charges. Since you never changed your plea, you were never found guilty. This is the best alternative because you can get the charges expunged from your record if they are dropped. The second alternative, which usually goes hand in hand with the first, is drug court. Drug court is a lot of work, but the benefit is that you get a clean, or cleaner, record than when you are through. The third alternative is something called a departure. You would have to consult with an attorney at a one to one meeting to see whether you qualify for a departure. A departure sentence would have to include some sort of restrictions on your living situation. Fourth, if you are under 21, you may qualify for a Youthful Offender sentence, or YO. Fifth, you can agree to a high amount of probation, say like 10 years in your case. As a side note, if you offer substantial assistance to the state in another prosecution, they will usually offer you a better deal. Usually, this means becoming a confidential informant. However, if you offer the state valuable information that leads to a significant prosecution, you might not have to do the CI thing. Good luck. Hope this helps.


  3. Difficult to evaluate without knowing the jurisdiction, but maybe suspended prison term or commitment to a drug treatment facility.

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  4. You may be able to work out a split sentence which includes some incarceration and some probation. There many forms of probation, including community control which is basically house arrest. Consult with a lawyer about your options. Do you know how many points you on your score sheet? Are you currently represented by the public defender?

    You can get a free consultation by calling 407-617-1064. Please understand that the information given is not to be construed as legal advice. More information would be needed in order to make a more accurate legal determination on your matter. Furthermore, an attorney-client relationship does not begin until a retainer agreement has been signed by the attorney and client.


  5. Drugs and dealing in stolen property often go hand in hand. If you are open to drug treatment the State may allow you to serve probation time in a rehabilitation facility. There are also state funded programs but with budget cuts it is harder and harder to get in to these programs. Talk with a local attorney who knows the county, the prosecutors and the judge. Having the right attorney might mean the difference between prison and help.

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