Are There Alternatives to Going to Jail?
June 9, 2023
If you are facing criminal charges, you may be wondering whether there are alternatives to going to jail. The short answer is, “Yes, there may be alternatives to going to jail, commonly referred to as alternative sentencing.”
Alternative sentencing options provide ways for individuals who have been convicted of a crime to avoid jail time. These options are designed to provide a more effective way to handle criminal behavior.
The criminal defense attorney at Bretz Legal, LLC can help you navigate your way through the criminal justice system and identify potential alternative sentencing options that may be available to you. Attorney Anthony Bretz serves clients in and around St. Louis, Missouri, as well as Jefferson, St. Charles, St. Louis, and Franklin counties.
What Is Alternative Sentencing?
Alternative sentencing includes various punitive measures that aim to provide an alternative to traditional imprisonment. These forms of punishment can be used to hold individuals accountable while keeping them out of jail. Some of the most common alternative sentencing options include community service, probation, suspended sentences, and others.
Alternative Sentencing Options
Jail time is often seen as the only consequence for those who have violated the law. However, several alternative sentencing options can be considered to avoid the harsh realities of life inside a prison cell. Some of the common alternative sentencing options that may be available include:
Monetary fines. Monetary fines are one of the most common and simplest alternative sentencing options. Fines can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Fines are usually imposed as a way to deter an individual from engaging in criminal activity. The amount of the fine is usually determined by the severity of the crime.
Diversion. Diversion is an alternative sentencing program that is designed to help individuals avoid going to jail. The program provides counseling, job training, and other services. The goal of the program is to prevent individuals from committing future crimes. Diversion programs are typically granted to first-time offenders or those who have committed non-violent crimes.
Treatment programs. Treatment programs are designed to help individuals who have struggled with addiction or mental health issues. The programs provide medical and psychological assistance to help individuals overcome their health issues. Treatment programs are typically granted to individuals who have committed drug offenses or other non-violent crimes.
Suspended sentence. A suspended sentence is a sentence that is postponed or delayed. The judge can choose to suspend the sentence for a period of time. During the suspension period, the individual is required to complete certain conditions. If these conditions are met, the sentence is lifted. A suspended sentence can be granted to individuals who have committed non-violent crimes.
House arrest. House arrest is an alternative sentencing program that requires the individual to remain at home for a specific period of time. The individual is not allowed to leave the house except for medical reasons or other pre-approved situations. House arrest is typically granted to individuals who have committed non-violent crimes.
Inpatient drug/alcohol rehabilitation. Inpatient drug/alcohol rehabilitation is a program that requires individuals to stay in a facility for a specific period of time. The program provides medical and psychological assistance to help individuals overcome addiction issues. Inpatient rehabilitation is typically granted to individuals who have committed drug offenses.
Restitution. Restitution is an alternative sentencing option that requires the individual to pay for any damages caused by the crime. This includes financial restitution to the victim and potentially the community.
Community service. Community service is an alternative sentencing option that requires the individual to complete a certain number of hours of community service. Community service can range from picking up trash to helping out at a local charity. Community service is typically granted to individuals who have committed non-violent crimes.
Probation. Probation is an alternative sentencing program that allows the individual to avoid jail time. The individual is required to follow certain conditions during the probation period. These conditions can include staying away from certain people or places, attending counseling sessions, and/or completing community service. Probation is typically granted to individuals who have committed non-violent crimes.
Consider speaking with a criminal defense attorney to determine which alternatives may be available for your specific case.
Factors Considered When Assessing Alternatives to Jail
Certain factors may result in a higher chance of receiving an alternative sentence in your criminal case. These factors include:
The offense is classified as non-violent;
It was the defendant’s first-time offense;
The defendant does not pose a danger to society;
The defendant has stable employment; or
The crime was committed while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Your circumstances will be evaluated by a judge to determine whether alternative sentencing is appropriate in your case. Seek help from an attorney to analyze the details of your case, gather evidence, and present arguments on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome.
Pursue Your Best Outcome With the Help of an Attorney
Being sentenced to jail can be a daunting experience for any individual. However, what most people do not realize is that there are alternative sentencing options available that could help them avoid the harsh consequences of going to jail. Contact Attorney Anthony Bretz of Bretz Legal, LLC to explore the alternative sentencing options that may be available to you.