If you are arrested and convicted of a crime, you may face jail time, fines, and other penalties. The prospect of going to jail or prison can be extremely frightening and life-altering, especially if you’re facing a multi-year sentence. But there are some individuals who may be eligible for alternative sentencing so they can avoid jail time.

The term “alternative sentencing” refers to programs that serve as an alternative to jail. The judge may use alternative sentencing in order to deliver an appropriate punishment that is considered acceptable to both the court and the prosecution. The court and prosecution will not accept just any form of alternative sentencing, so it’s important that you have an experienced California defense lawyer who can use effective strategies to achieve a positive outcome.

The Long Beach lawyers with The Law Offices of Jerry Nicholson have a great deal of experience with alternative sentencing. Attorneys with our firm can work to build a compelling case that you should be granted an alternative sentence in place of a traditional sentence in county jail or state prison.

If you are seeking to pursue alternative sentencing, Southern California criminal defense attorneys with The Law Offices of Jerry Nicholson are here to help. We’re ready to discuss your case in a fully confidential consultation session. Just call 562-205-8499.

What is Alternative Sentencing and How Does it Help You Stay Out of Jail?

California allows a few different forms of alternative sentencing which can be used as a punishment instead of jail or in conjunction with a reduced or modified sentence. These alternatives to jail include the following.

  • Electronic Monitoring, House Arrest, or Home Detention – House arrest, electronic monitoring, and home detention are types of alternative sentencing that limit and/or monitor the defendant’s mobility. In some cases, you are required to stay at home, while others limit your ability to leave a particular area. The participant is fitted with an electronic device or ankle bracelet. This ankle bracelet monitors the location of the wearer at all times. The wearer may be permitted to attend necessary functions, such as school, work, church, and other activities approved by the program’s administrator. Electronic monitoring may be court-issued or the defendant may have to apply for it independently of the court with the help of a skilled attorney.
  • Work Release or Work Furlough Programs – The participant in this form of program goes to a designated worksite, usually on a daily basis, to perform physical labor. At the end of the workday, the participant is allowed to go home or to return to a housing dormitory facility instead of going to the county jail. Until the work release or work furlough program requirements are successfully fulfilled, the participant is required to continue to return to the worksite the next day or as instructed.
  • Drug Courts (Proposition 36) – Drug treatment options can be a very effective type of alternative sentence for individuals convicted of a drug crime. This strict program includes random drug testing and can be successful for certain highly motivated defendants.
  • City Jail or Private Jail – This alternative sentencing program allows the defendant to continue working and complete his or her jail time during weekends in a private, city jail. Participants check themselves in on Friday afternoon and are released on Sunday afternoon. Specific eligibility requirements apply. Participants may be required to pay a fee for their weekend stays.
  • Diversion Programs – The defendant is required to complete a series of drug educational programs for a period of six months. When the defendant completes all required classes and programs, charges may then be dismissed. If all classes are successfully completed the conviction may be avoided altogether.
  • Sober Living House – The participants in this rehabilitation program are housed in a private facility geared mainly toward defendants with alcohol abuse problems. Here, there are individual and group therapy sessions, along with required house chores. Strict house rules and curfews are enforced. This type of alternative sentencing is usually appropriate for individuals who have been found guilty of an alcohol-related crime, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or a crime that was fueled by one’s alcohol abuse.
  • Community Service – Participants are required to work in city organizations or perform cleanup duties in and around the city. In some cases, volunteer work with a registered non-profit may also be used to fulfill community service requirements.

Stay Out of Jail: Who’s Eligible for Alternative Sentencing in California?

There are a number of individuals who may be able to stay out of jail with California’s alternative sentencing options. In order to be eligible for alternative sentencing, people typically need to meet some very specific criteria.

In our experience as California defense lawyers, alternative sentencing candidates tend to be:

  • Defendants who have not committed serious crimes and who are not facing a mandatory sentence;
  • Defendants who have not committed numerous crimes (non repeat offenders);
  • Defendants who have not committed serious felonies, particularly violent felonies; and
  • Defendants who do not pose a risk to themselves or the community-at-large.

If you have been charged with a crime or have been convicted and are awaiting sentencing for your misdemeanor or felony offense, it’s vital that you move quickly to contact an experienced Long Beach alternative sentencing attorney to learn your legal options. Contact The Law Offices of Jerry Nicholson to discuss your case in a fully confidential consultation session by calling 562-205-8499.

Alternative Sentencing Statutes in Long Beach, California

Long Beach Alternative Sentencing AttorneyUnder California’s alternative sentencing statutes, the judge will be required to consider numerous factors when deciding if you can receive an alternative sentence. This includes the nature of the crime (including whether it was a violent act and whether it involved a weapon), your prior criminal history, whether you’re currently on parole or probation, whether you are a risk to yourself or others, and your character and condition. The judge will also strongly consider whether your imprisonment would serve to protect the public.

Penal Code 1174.4. addresses the full criteria for alternative sentencing eligibility in California. The law does allow for alternative sentencing for those convicted of misdemeanors and some felonies.

In Southern California, jail over-crowding has played a major role in the movement toward alternative sentencing. Per Penal Code 1203.017, when a county jail reaches an “overcrowded” status, misdemeanor level inmates may be allowed to serve the rest of their sentence via house arrest and electronic monitoring.

Penal Code 1000, also called a Deferred Entry of Judgment or Proposition 36 (in reference to the voter initiative of the same name), allows some defendants facing first-time drug possession charges to enroll in a special program. If the individual completes the program and avoids any legal issues for 18 months, they can withdraw a guilty plea and the court will dismiss the case.

Our attorneys have years of experience defending clients in cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, theft, sex crimes, and assault and battery, among other charges. We do our best to help each client receive alternative sentencing so they can get through this process without completely disrupting their life. If you are seeking alternative sentencing in Southern California, including Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura and Long Beach, contact the criminal defense attorneys with The Law Offices of Jerry Nicholson to discuss your case in a fully confidential consultation session. Call our law firm at 562-205-8499 or fill out the form on this website to speak with a criminal defense attorney.

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