What Sentencing Options Are Available In California Criminal Cases?

In California, along with many other states, jail or prison is not considered the first line of defense against criminal convictions. In fact, incarceration is often seen as a last resort by judges who wish to rehabilitate citizens convicted of crimes instead of punish them. Many reports show that alternative sentencing can be more effective at reducing recidivism than other types of penalties. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Potential Alternative Sentences 

There are numerous alternative sentences that exist and California judges have carte blanche to choose whichever they deem most appropriate for your case. Or, they can come up with a creative sentence so long as it’s designed to rehabilitate you and reduce the risk that you’ll commit another criminal offense. 

The following alternative sentencing options are the most commonly used: 

  • Placing you on probation. Probation is designed to monitor a defendant to ensure they do not commit additional crimes or engage in dangerous behavior after being released from jail or being convicted of a crime. 
  • Requiring community service hours. If you are ordered to complete community service, you’ll need to perform an approved activity for the community for a certain number of hours before this condition is considered met. 
  • Suspending your sentencing. The sentencing portion of your criminal trial may be suspended either with no conditions or with conditions imposed by the judge presiding over your case. If you do not meet the conditions of the latter, the suspension of your sentencing may be revoked. 
  • Opting for a deferred adjudication. A deferred adjudication means that your sentencing is delayed and is similar to the above alternative penalty. You’ll be allowed time to show that you are capable of rehabilitation before your adjudication takes place. 
  • Court fines and victim restitution. The court may require you to pay fines to the city or county, and/or you may be ordered to pay the victim of your crime a sum of money to compensate them for financial, emotional, and physical harm. 

How a Razor-Sharp California Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You 

If you’ve been accused of committing a crime in Sacramento or a nearby area, don’t hesitate to secure legal advocacy as soon as you are able to. You can be confident that prosecutors are working hard to ensure the stiffest possible penalty is imposed on you. Your defense attorney can help you seek alternative sentencing. Call Jennifer Mouzis now for a consultation at (916) 822-8702.