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Alternative Sentencing

Alternative Sentencing to Avoid Jail Time in California

Contrary to popular belief, not all criminal convictions result in jail time. In California, a judge can take into consideration the circumstances of a conviction when imposing a sentence. Jail time is not always the most appropriate punishment, particularly if the defendant is a first time offender and could benefit from rehabilitation through an alternative sentence.

California Penal Code 1000 is an example of how such alternative sentencing works. The law allows first offenders in certain types of drug possession cases to avoid jail time. In order to qualify under this law, the defendant must enter a guilty plea to personal possession or use of drugs. Possession with the intent to sell, the actual sale of drugs, or any allegations of violence involved in the case would disqualify a defendant for this type of program.

Examples of alternative sentences to jail time include:

  • Suspended sentence
  • Fines
  • Probation
  • Restitution
  • Community service

Other necessities for alternative sentencing of first offense drug possession cases include attendance in classes for 6 months and no additional criminal violations over an 18-month period.

What Does Drug Diversion Mean?

The term “drug diversion” typically means that eligible defendants in a drug case can have their criminal charges dismissed if they successfully complete one of several court-approved drug treatment programs. Proposition 36 was passed by voters in California in 2000 and falls under the category of drug diversion legislation. The idea behind Prop 36, as it is commonly know, is that non-violent drug possession offenders would be able to serve time in a drug treatment program rather than jail. In order to be eligible for Prop 36 diversion, you must have been arrested for simple felony possession of drugs.

In general, if you have previously been convicted of a serious felony within five years of the non-violent drug possession offense, you would not be eligible for Prop 36 sentencing. The laws regarding who may be eligible for Prop 36 alternative sentencing are complex. The knowledgeable DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys at Hoffman & Associates can review the facts of your case and explain Prop 36 in a simple, easy-to-understand way.

Consult With A Skilled California Defense Attorney

The DUI and Criminal Defense Attorneys at Hoffman & Associates have practiced in courtrooms throughout California for over 30 years. We understand the nuances of the law and can advise you on whether or not you would qualify for an alternative sentence or drug diversion program. Our successful track record of criminal defense benefits our clients and we fight for your rights every step of the way.

Contact us for a phone or office consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. You can reach us at 323-655-3900. We offer reasonable rates and payment plans and look forward to consulting with you.