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What is a Sentencing Alternative?

In Orlando as well as many throughout Central Florida, there is what is known as "sentencing alternatives" that may help defendants avoid jail or prison time in some situations. Incarceration alternatives often help someone who has committed a drug crime, for example, seek out the treatment or rehabilitation he or she needs rather than spending months or even years behind bars.

Sentencing alternatives are most often available to those who have committed a criminal offense that did not involve violence. Depending on the seriousness of the crime and the offender's criminal history, some alternatives may include probation, community service, work release, restitution, inpatient drug, alcohol, or psychiatric treatment, and more.

Sentencing alternatives are typically reserved for first time offenders or specific drug abuse crimes. Depending on the offense, the criminal charges may be dismissed, or it may be possible to avoid a conviction that would result in a criminal record and other consequences that could negatively impact your life.

What are some examples of sentencing alternatives?

Drug court may be an option for those charged with a felony drug offense, and helps those who are abusing substances avoid going through the criminal justice process in some cases. Essentially, those who abuse drugs may be placed in a facility for evaluation and case management in order to have the opportunity for rehabilitation, rather than face criminal penalties. Drug charges will be dismissed for those who successfully complete drug court, although those who do not comply with rules and regulations may face consequences including the punishment that would have been handed down had you not been eligible for drug court.

Pretrial Diversion

PTD, or pretrial diversion, is a sentencing alternative that is typically reserved for first time offenders who are considered non-violent, and is similar to probation. As with drug court, those who successfully complete pretrial diversion, which is run by the State Attorney's Office, will have criminal charges dismissed. If you are deemed eligible for PTD you will be required to submit to random drug testing, report to an appointed supervising officer on a monthly basis, avoid any criminal activity, and complete community service hours.

Pretrial Intervention

Pretrial intervention is designed for individuals who may have gotten into trouble with the law in the past, and is overseen by the court. Similar to probation, pretrial intervention requires that those who are deemed eligible are evaluated for drug treatment, and undergo treatment if ordered. You must also report to the court regularly, and adhere to other requirements specified by the court in regards to any involvement in criminal activity. In this case it is vital to work with a capable criminal defense lawyer, as not all judges participate in this sentencing alternative and your attorney can offer guidance regarding those who do. If you successfully complete pretrial intervention, criminal charges are dismissed.

Sentencing Alternative in Florida Involve Diversions

To sum it all up, sentencing alternatives in Florida typically involve diversions in which a case is handled outside of the criminal justice system, weekend jail time, house arrest, completion of drug or alcohol treatment programs, community service (unpaid work in the community), restitution, fines for offenses considered less serious and committed by first-time offenders, and more. To learn about possible sentencing alternatives that may be available in your situation, consult with an experienced and knowledgeable Orlando defense attorney. Contact our Central Florida criminal defense law firm now.

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