As a criminal defense attorney, I often hear from clients that they do not want to go to jail. It is not always possible, depending on the charges, but in some cases there are sentencing alternatives that could keep you out of jail even if you are convicted or plead guilty. Keep reading to learn about five of them and then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 if you need a free legal consultation.
- Suspended Sentence
- Public Works
- Specialty Court
- House Arrest
If you are sentenced to jail time it may be possible that the court or District Attorney agrees instead to “stay” the time, or give you a suspended sentence. This means that you agree to go to jail but only if you fail to complete certain terms. As long as you comply with those terms, you will not have to go to jail.
Also known as community service or, in Orange as Cal Trans and Work Release in Riverside, this option allows you to show up to a specific location and taken around the county to do work. It could include picking up trash, folding clothing, filling sandbags, etc. In some cases this is assigned in addition to jail time but it can also be assigned in lieu of.
Each county in California has taken steps to find the best way to deal with certain societal issues. Depending on the county in which you are charged and the charges you are facing, you may qualify for homeless court, veteran court, drug court, or DUI court. Each of these courts is designed not to punish but to provide help for those who are there. You may have numerous factors to qualify for in order to be admitted. If you do not follow the rules of the program you could be sent to jail but generally you will be given a chance to stay out of jail.
If your crime involved drugs or alcohol in some way than sober living or inpatient rehab may be an option. In some cases, your judge may let you serve your time in one of these facilities and count it as custody days you were in “jail.” However, this is almost only the case if the charge was drug or alcohol-related. You must also go to a state-approved facility – not just anywhere will do.
If your crime was non-violent and you are a first-time offender then the judge may agree to house arrest. This does not necessarily require that you stay within the confines of your home but it does require that stay within a certain radius unless you have permission to go beyond it.
Which option is best for you? It all depends on the specifics of your case. Contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 now if you are in need of a legal consultation.