Being arrested for a crime is stressful, and the situation worsens upon conviction. The consequences can be devastating. They can destroy your life forever by adversely impacting your reputation, reducing your chances of getting employed, and even taking away your freedom.
With so much at stake, you should seek alternative ways to pay for your mistakes while avoiding extensive jail time. A skilled lawyer from a Los Angeles criminal law office can advise you on alternative sentencing options in Los Angeles and help you determine eligibility.
What is Alternative Sentencing and How Does It Help You Stay Out of Jail?
The State of California provides various programs as alternatives to jail time. Courts use alternative sentencing to deliver appropriate punishment acceptable to the court and prosecution.
Not all alternative sentencing options are acceptable, so it would be in your best interest to have an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney represent you. They can use their skills and experience to build effective strategies for the most favorable outcome.
Who is Eligible for Alternative Sentencing in California?
Several individuals may be eligible for alternative sentencing to help them stay out of jail. Some groups who may be eligible for the programs include offenders who:
- Have committed serious crimes and not facing mandatory sentencing
- Haven’t committed numerous crimes, meaning they’re not repeat offenders
- Haven’t committed violent or severe felonies
- Don’t pose a risk to themselves or the larger community
However, these individuals must meet particular criteria to qualify. If you’re facing criminal charges and have a high chance of being convicted, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles for legal counsel on your options.
What are the Alternative Sentencing Requirements?
Since alternative sentencing is not always available in Los Angeles criminal courts, judges consider several factors in determining your eligibility:
- Whether the crime in question is violent, such as robbery or sexual assault
- Whether the accused used a weapon to commit the crime
- Whether the defendant has prior convictions and a criminal record
- Whether the defendant is currently on probation or parole
- What risk the accused poses to themselves or others
- Whether imprisoning the accused would serve to protect the public
The judge will also consider specific details and circumstances surrounding the crime. Alternative sentencing may only be available for many misdemeanor offenses and a few felony crimes. For more information about your particular case, consult a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer.
What are the California Alternative Sentencing Options?
Electronic monitoring, also known as house arrest, detention, or confinement, is a suitable alternative for defendants who meet the eligibility criteria. Participation in the program may be court-issued, or the lawyer may ask the court to assess the defendant for eligibility.
Sometimes, even convicts already serving jail time may be eligible to serve the rest of their sentence on house arrest. Offenders who have committed misdemeanors or light felonies may be considered for house arrest. They’re fitted with an electronic device or ankle bracelet to monitor their location.
People eligible for house arrest may be allowed to do the following while being electronically monitored:
- Go to work or school
- Attend medical appointments
- Be subjected to curfew restrictions
- Attend an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program
Once eligibility has been determined, the County of Los Angeles Probation Department contracts with a company from which the defendant will obtain their monitoring equipment.
Fines are the most common type of alternative sentencing. They are so common that they don’t seem like an alternative in most cases. In criminal cases, judges often impose fines as an additional punishment, not an alternative — tacking them into one sentence.
If you have an experienced attorney from a Los Angeles criminal defense law firm, they can aggressively fight to negotiate a fine to avoid jail time.
In some cases, and depending on the case specifics, a court will order the defendant to perform community service. That could happen through a local or regional program, for example, a highway cleanup program.
A lawyer may be able to negotiate a specific service related to the crime. For example, an offender convicted of a drug crime may be ordered to educate young people about the dangers of getting involved with illicit drugs.
Deferred Entry of Judgment – California Penal Code 1000
Deferred Entry of Judgment is an alternative sentencing available for people charged with a misdemeanor or felony drug possession. However, the accused must have had no previous drug convictions. Alternatively, they must have completed PC 1000 probation within the past five years.
Deferred Entry of Judgment includes 36 months of probation, but it’s granted on condition that you plead guilty to a simple drug possession charge. The court also requires the offender to undergo a five-month treatment program and complete it.
Once they complete the drug program and are not charged with new crimes for 18 months, the offender returns to court and withdraws the guilty plea for the judge to dismiss the case. This option is only available at the pretrial stage of the case. An experienced criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles can fight to have this alternative sentencing availed to you.
Fight for Your Rights with Skilled Legal Representation
When facing charges for a severe criminal offense, you risk getting jail time which inhibits your freedom and affects your future. If the evidence brought against you is solid, your best chance at having a favorable outcome of the case is seeking alternative sentencing. An aggressive criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles can help you pursue the option.
We have skilled and passionate attorneys who can provide the legal representation you need at this difficult time. We can put our skills to work to help you avoid a conviction that could lead to jail time. Trust our aggressive approach and creative strategies to defend you and protect your rights and future. Talk to us today.