What is alternative sentencing?

Alternative sentencing options are legal alternatives to traditional sentencing guidelines such as jail time. In cases involving nonviolent crimes of lesser severity, judges and prosecutors are often amenable to working out alternative sentencing.
Alternative sentencing allows for certain offenders to eschew jail time if they fulfill certain court mandated requirements, such as community service, residential or nonresidential medical or psychological treatment, probation and other alternatives.

In cases involving nonviolent drug crimes, the courts are often sympathetic to the travails of drug dependence and understand that incarceration can be ineffective in providing the assistance drug users need. In fact, for many drug addicts a stint in jail can inflame their already difficult addiction. Courts are often inclined to prescribe drug treatment programs rather than jail time for first time offenders or misdemeanor offenders.

Although treatment programs can be expensive, many non-profit organizations are affiliated and work with the court system to provide affordable access to treatment programs for drug offenders who are exploring options of alternative sentencing.

In some cases, a judge will automatically assess an alternative sentence after a conviction has been made. However, in others, defense attorneys will need to negotiate these arrangements with the judge and with the prosecution in order to reach a consensus that works for all parties involved.

Posted in: Drug Crimes