Contact Us Today (424) 372-3112


Alternative Sentencing in California Criminal Cases

Posted by Philip Israels | Nov 01, 2019

If you are convicted of a crime, losing your freedom will impact every aspect of your life. Fortunately, alternative sentencing options offer some hope of staying out of jail.

A conviction for a crime that carries county jail or state prison time doesn't always automatically result in serving jail time – but you will need a criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with all the available alternative sentencing options - which are often the best option for the court and our clients. We can help show the judge that you are not just another defendant – but someone who is deserves a chance to avoid jail time.

In basic terms, “alternative sentencing” provides you an opportunity to avoid confinement in jail through different programs that are a negotiated plea agreement by your criminal lawyer and prosecutor.

Alternative sentencing is normally available in misdemeanor and felony drug crime charges – but can also be offered in theft crime and domestic violence charges. Additionally, it gives you an opportunity to rehabilitate and get your life back on track, especially if you are an addict.

We can aggressively pursue alternative sentencing for our clients as we know the opportunity to avoid jail time can give you badly needed help to get your life in order.

To give readers a better understanding of alternative sentencing options, our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys are provided an overview below.

What are the Alternative Sentencing Requirements?

Alternative sentencing is not always available in a Los Angeles County criminal court. The judge will consider a variety of factors to determine if you are eligible, including:

  • Did you commit a violent crime, such as sexual assault or robbery?
  • Did you use a weapon to commit the crime?
  • Do you have prior convictions and criminal record?
  • Are you currently on probation or parole?
  • Are you a risk to yourself or others?

It should be noted the judge will also consider the specific details and circumstances of your crime. Alternative sentencing is available for many misdemeanor offenses and a few felony crimes.  For more information about your specific case, call our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm.

What are the California Alternative Sentencing Options?

If the judge determines you are eligible and grants alternative sentencing, various options exist. Some are at the judge's discretion – but others are mandatory under California law. Some common alternative sentencing options include:

  • House arrest
  • Electronic monitoring
  • Community service
  • Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous meetings
  • Drug rehabilitation, such as Proposition 36, halfway house
  • California drug court
  • Deferred entry of judgment, Penal Code 1000
  • Involuntary home detention
  • Probation – supervised or unsupervised
  • Therapy sessions
  • Pay to stay in a private jail
  • Behavioral management programs

In certain cases, we also might be able to negotiate a civil compromise with the victim of your crime. This means we could attempt to get the victim to agree or recommend dismissing your criminal charges if you pay restitution, such as in theft, shoplifting, battery, or hit-and-run cases. Let's take a closer look at common options below.

Electronic Monitoring

Electronic monitoring is a form of house arrest or home confinement program where you must remain in your home. Electronic monitoring is enforced by wearing an ankle bracelet that communicates with a home monitoring unit that sends a 24-hour signal to the monitoring agency.

They will report tampering or unusual activity – which normally includes travel outside authorized locations and curfew violations. However, this service is not free of charge. You will be responsible for paying the cost of using an electronic monitoring instrument.

In some cases, after the judge grants electronic monitoring, you might be allowed to go to work or school, attend counseling or alcohol/drug addiction classes, perform community service, go to doctor, deal with family obligations, and any other activity ordered by the court.

Most home confinement programs will include random drug tests and home visits. If you violate the terms of electronic monitoring, the monitoring agency will notify your probation officer, and you will probably be arrested. Next, the judge can revoke your home arrest and send you to jail for the remainder of your sentence.

Deferred Entry of Judgment – California Penal Code 1000

Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) is defined under California Penal Code 1000. It's available if you are charged with misdemeanor or felony drug possession – but have no drug crime convictions – or you have completed PC 1000 probation within the past five years.

DEJ normally includes 36 months of probation – but you will first be required to plead guilty to a simple drug possession charge – and the court will order you to complete a five-month treatment program.

If you successfully complete the drug program and are not charged with any new crimes for 18 months – you will return to court – withdraw your guilty plea – and the judge will dismiss your case. It should be noted that Penal Code 1000 probation is not available if you take your case to trial, and it's only available at the pretrial stage of your case.

California Proposition 36

Proposition 36 probation is an option in cases where you are charged with misdemeanor or felony drug possession cases, but you can't have any prior drug convictions. It's considered formal felony probation.

It's also more expensive and strict than DEJ Penal Code 1000 probation above. Normally, after you are granted Prop 36 probation, you must report daily to an assigned Los Angeles County probation officer. The level of your substance abuse problem will be evaluated – and the court might order you to an out-patient drug treatment program – or residential drug treatment.

If you successfully complete Prop 36 probation, you will return to court and the judge will dismiss your charges. Prop 36 is still available if you take your case to trial and are found guilty, which makes it different from Deferred Entry of Judgment.

SCRAM Bracelet

The SCRAM bracelet is a type of electronic monitoring often imposed as a penalty for a driving under the influence in California. SCRAM stands for “Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor, “and an electronic device worn on the ankle that detects alcohol in your sweat.

It checks for alcohol in your blood about once every hour – at random intervals – then saves the results and transmits a report once per day to a monitoring service.

It will also detect any attempt to tamper with the device and will include the information in the daily report. Normally, after you are ordered to wear a SCRAM device, you can still travel anywhere you want – but are prohibited from consuming alcohol.

Contact Us to Learn How We Can Help You

If you have been charged with some specific California crimes, you might be eligible for an alternative sentence in a Los Angeles criminal courthouse.

There are some criminal cases where the evidence against you is so solid – your best option for a favorable outcome if to pursue an alternative sentence.

We can help you in avoiding a conviction and serving time in jail.  Our aggressive approach and creative strategies have helped many clients stay out of jail.

We need to review your case's details to determine if alternative sentencing is a reasonable option. Cron, Israels & Stark is located at 11755 Wilshire Blvd, 15th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90025. We offer a free case evaluation by calling (424) 372-3112.

Related Content:

About the Author

Philip Israels

Phil Israels was raised in California's Central Valley where he still has family. After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley where he was a member for Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and studied Economics, he continued his education...

Contact Us Today

Cron, Israels & Stark is committed to answering your questions about All Misdemeanor and Felony Crime law issues in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, California.

We offer a free consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.