WHAT ARE SOME ALTERNATIVE SENTENCES IMPOSED BY COURTS?
After convicting an individual of a crime, a judge will then impose a sentence as punishment for the crime. Most of the time, this sentence is based on the specific crime that the defendant has been charged with. Typically, this means either jail or prison time. However, in certain situations, the judge has the ability to order alternative sentences that do not involve the prison system.
In certain situations, a judge can impose a suspended sentence. A suspended sentence is jail or prison time that is not enforced as long as the defendant conforms with certain conditions and requirements. However, if the defendant violates these conditions, the defendant will have to serve the sentence.
Generally, crimes that are not considered very serious can be resolved through the payment of a fine. Typically, fines are used for charges like traffic violations, although they can apply to more serious crimes as well. Oftentimes, fines are used in conjunction with other punishments as well.
Restitution is the act of repaying the victim of a crime or the government for the financial damage the crime has caused. Typically, restitution is calculated as a lump sum amount, but, a defendant could also simply be ordered to replace the damaged or destroyed property. In situations where the court orders the defendant to pay restitution to the government, the money collected goes into a state or Federal restitution fund for future victims of that particular offense.
A judge can also order an individual to perform a certain amount of community service that benefits local community or charities. By imposing this punishment, the judge is able to order the defendant to repay a debt to society for committing the crime with which the defendant has been found guilty of. Oftentimes, community service is additionally tacked on to other punishments.
In certain situations, a judge can divert a defendant’s case out of the judicial system and into a diversion program. Diversion programs are court approved programs that work to rehabilitate the defendant and allow successful integration with the community. If the defendant completes the diversion program, the charges will be dropped and no punishment will be imposed. By doing this, the criminal justice system is not burdened with more criminal cases and the defendant gets to avoid a criminal conviction and the stigma associated with a criminal record.
If you or someone you know have been charged with a crime, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney that can help zealously defend your case and possibly get the evidence excluded. Contact Us at Minick Law, P.C. for a free consultation on your case.