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Alternatives to Jail

By: Hessinger and Kilfin Law

Jail and prison are two locations that many people hope that they will never have to see in a lifetime. Fortunately, with the help of skilled legal counsel, you may have a fighting chance of avoiding jail by pursuing one of the many alternative options. If you have recently been arrested and charged with a crime, you may be wondering how you will handle this type of situation and what will come of the future.

You may be concerned as to whether you will be sentenced to jail or prison, fines, community service, or possibly be forced to pay restitution for something such as a theft crime conviction. Believe it or not, you may be able to pursue an option that does not include incarceration, or full-time incarceration at least. There are options available for people who are convicted of a crime, and depending on the circumstances and nature of your offense, you may be eligible to pursue one of these alternative options. With the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to explore the options of probation, day reporting, residential drug or alcohol treatment, house arrest, or work release.

What is probation? As one of the most commonly known alternatives to a jail sentence, probation is available in certain cases where a judge will determine that the sentence can be better served within the home of an individual. This individual will be checked in on regularly by a probation officer and may even be required to attend other types of educational courses on drug or alcohol treatment, anger management, or may be prohibited from attending certain places. A person on probation is often allowed to attend school and work, and may generally be free to continue on with their life so long as they abide by the rules of their probation.

An option that may be available in another type of case is the option of inpatient alcohol or drug treatment. For this, a person convicted of an offense will be required to reside in a treatment center for a certain period of time in lieu of the jail sentence. This is often the better alternative solution for a person convicted of an alcohol or drug related offense so that the underlying cause of the incident can be fully addressed. Another alternative that may be made available is work release, which involves allowing a person to be released from incarceration on a daily basis to resume work. After work is complete, they must return to the facility at night.

Some of the last options available include day reporting and house arrest. Day reporting involves checking in or attending rehabilitation courses on a daily basis for up to 180 days. House arrest, one of the strictest forms of supervision, involves having an enforced curfew by the probation officer. The officer can enforce this by ensuring that a GPS monitoring system is placed on the individual, such as in the form of an ankle bracelet. This will be able to track the individual’s moves at all times. Another way to enforce this curfew or ensure that the person has obliged by the rules of the house arrest is to make unannounced check-ins on the person, a common tool used by probation and parole officers.

After being arrested, it is in your best interests to speak with a criminal lawyer right away so that you can understand more about the options you have to try to avoid jail. Jail is not the best solution in every case, and sending a person to jail when their sentence would be better served in a rehabilitation center can have detrimental consequences on this person; it may even cause the person to lash out again once they have been released from jail. No matter what type of legal situation you are currently involved in, don’t wait to call a skilled legal representative right away to get the help you need in finding an appropriate alternative to jail.