Approximately 2 million people occupy jails and prisons in the United States. This large and continuously increasing population has created overcrowded conditions and poses a severe financial burden on almost every state. Because there is no room in many areas to incarcerate those who commit non-violent crimes, the courts are entertaining alternatives to jail sentencing. Here are a few you may explore with your criminal defense attorney.
Underlying addictions are often the cause of many addict's crimes. As an addict, you are usually willing to do whatever you can to pay for your habit.
For example, drug addicts often commit the following addiction-related crimes:
- Petty Theft
- Possession Charges
- Credit Card Theft
While all these crimes damage society, they are usually non-violent crimes. Incarceration for these types of crimes serves no purpose except for punishment.
Your criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate treatment in lieu of incarceration. The judge may even agree to deferred prosecution on your charges if you fulfill your treatment program. Deferred prosecution is a written or verbal agreement between you and the court. Sometimes your charges may even be dismissed if you complete the agreed-upon conditions.
Another alternative to active jail or prison time is serving your sentence on house arrest. You will be required to wear an ankle monitor. This monitor reports your movements and location 24 hours a day. It is illegal to remove your monitor, and if you attempt to, the unit will signal to law enforcement, and you will face additional charges.
One of the advantages of house arrest is that you are still present in your home and community. You are still able to interact with your family. The court will often even approve you leaving home for work, meetings, or other activities.
Depending on your crime, the court may sentence you to numerous hours of community service. This alternative not only benefits you but will also benefit the community and agency where you volunteer.
Your community service will vary based on the needs of your location. Your assignment may be with non-profit or government agencies. The agency will assign, and monitor your activities, as well as report your hours to the court. Once you complete your community service, your criminal defense attorney may be able to get the court to drop your charges or expunge your record. Either action will result in you having no record.
Contact a criminal defense attorney for more information.