Alternative sentences are possible in some criminal cases

When you are facing criminal charges, one of your most frequent thoughts might be how your case will end. You are likely wondering about the sentence you will receive. Many people most commonly associate incarceration as the primary sentence in a criminal case. While many convictions do end with an incarceration, there are other sentences that are possible. These sentences are known as alternative sentences.

One of the common alternative sentences that might occur is probation. In this case, the person who is convicted of a crime or who pleads guilty to a crime would have to meet with a probation officer and follow a plan that is set forth for the duration of the sentence. The terms of probation restrict the behavior of the person who is placed on probation. If the person doesn’t comply with the conditions of the probation program, he or she might be found in violation of the terms of probation. That can lead to more criminal charges and penalties.

Another possible alternative sentence is pretrial diversion. In this case, the person would have to enter into a specific program and complete that program. If they are successful in the program, the charges they face are dismissed.

Fines and restitution are two more alternative sentences that might be imposed. These are financial sentences that must be completed through either a lump-sum payment or regular payments. Fines are money that goes to the court. Restitution is money that goes to the victims of the crime.

If you are interested in alternative sentences, you should explore the options that apply to your case. Doing this early in the case can help you to learn more about how to work on your defense.

Source: FindLaw, “Alternative Sentences,” accessed April 01, 2016

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