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What is Alternative Sentencing?
As more and more prisons and local jails suffer from overcrowding, many states have begun considering alternative sentences to incarceration. These alternatives not only alleviate over-stretched resources and budgets, but also help ensure that the punishment is more fitting to the crime. This way, serious offenders don’t get off with a light probation sentence and unlucky “light" offenders don’t end up serving time for relatively minor crimes.
Some common alternatives include community service, work release programs, graffiti clean-up, as well as drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. The judge may choose to assign you one or more of these alternative sentences instead of the statutorily defined jail time for your crime. It will be up to your attorney to offer the right combination of alternatives that the judge and prosecutor will accept as adequate punishment for you.
Who is Eligible for Alternative Sentencing?
Alternative sentencing isn’t necessarily available to everyone. Depending on your circumstances, you may or may not be eligible for these alternatives. Generally, alternative sentencing is reserved for defendants with the following characteristics:
Common Alternative Sentences
Below is more information on some of the most common alternative sentences. Many of them you may have already heard of, while others you may be not have known about. Keep in mind that the variety of alternative sentence options available depends on your particular state’s laws.
Drug-Related Alternative Sentences
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help
It is important that you speak to an attorney who is experienced in these matters well in advance of any verdict or any plea negotiation.