California Alternative Sentencing
Losing the freedom to live your life is undoubtedly one of the biggest consequences of a criminal conviction. You cannot put a price on freedom. Being sentenced to serve time in jail or prison will affect a person's family life, job, career, and their future. However, alternative sentencing gives individuals a second chance at freedom.
The attorneys at the Kann California Defense Group work quickly and diligently for those facing criminal charges who are in need of legal assistance. Our skilled criminal defense attaorneys will move fast to defend your rights, freedom, reputation, and livelihood. While building a strong defense on your behalf, we will help you determine whether alternative sentencing in California applies to your specific case.
What is Alternative Sentencing?
Alternative sentencing in California can be implemented pursuant to one of several formal programs set in place by California voters or the California legislature or a plea agreement negotiated by a defendant's attorney and the judge or prosecutor in a given case. Alternative sentencing serves as an alternative to serving time in jail or prison. Alternative sentencing is most often available in felony and misdemeanor drug cases where there is no sales allegation, but it can also be available in other types of cases such as theft cases and domestic violence cases. If you are facing criminal charges that could result in jail or prison time, it is imperative that you seek the services of an experienced CA criminal defense attorney who understands the range and scope of alternative sentencing options that will keep you out of jail or prison.
Alternative sentencing options are a win-win for both those convicted of crimes and the criminal justice system. They prevent jails and prisons from becoming overcrowded and help give offenders, especially first-time offenders, a chance to rehabilitate and set their life straight. It puts a human face on the problems we as a society must face, such as juvenile delinquency and drug and alcohol addiction.
At the Law Offices of Daniel E. Kann, our lawyers support alternative sentencing and believe that justice is well served when individuals are able to receive adequate assistance for beginning their life anew on the right foot.
Alternative Sentencing Requirements
Consequently, alternative sentencing is not always an option for everyone. Factors that a judge may consider in determining whether or not a defendant is an appropriate candidate for alternative sentencing that may preclude the defendant from being granted alternative sentencing can include:
- whether the defendant has committed a serious or violent crime such as sexual assault, robbery, murder;
- the defendant's history of prior convictions;
- crimes that involve the use of a weapon; and
- whether the defendant poses a risk to him- or herself or others.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime or offense, alternative sentencing is not only an option for many misdemeanor crimes, but also some felony offenses as well. If the defendant is not a violent felon and has not committed a crime that includes a statute which prohibits probation, alternative sentencing may be considered by the court. The court will take into consideration the following factors:
- The defendant's risks and needs;
- The nature and circumstances of the crime charged;
- The defendant's history, character, and condition; and
- The necessity of imprisonment for protection of the public.
Types of Alternative Sentencing
If the defendant is granted some form of alternative sentencing, there are a number of ways that it can be carried out, depending on what is determined to be in the best interest of the defendant and the community and the type of charge the defendant is facing. Some of the most common forms of alternative sentencing options include the following:
- House arrest;
- Electronic monitoring;
- Community service;
- Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings;
- Drug court;
- Out-patient or Residential Alcohol rehabilitation programs;
- Out-patient or Residential Drug rehabilitation programs;
- Supervised or unsupervised probation; and
- Behavioral management programs to address anger and impulse control issues.
PC-1000 and Proposition 36
- Deferred Entry of Judgment also known as PC-1000;
- Formal Drug Probation also known as Proposition 36;
Both PC-1000 Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) and Proposition 36 Formal Drug Probation commonly referred to as Prop. 36 are types of alternative sentencing that certain drug offenders are automatically entitled to take part in.
PC-1000 is available to defendants who are charged with misdemeanor or felony drug possession and either have never been convicted of a drug related crime before or have successfully completed PC-1000 probation not less than five years prior. In most California jurisdictions PC-1000 consists of 36 months of probation. However, the defendant who pleads guilty to a simple possession charge and is granted PC-1000 probation is ordered to complete a specially assigned PC-1000 drug treatment program that usually lasts about five months. If the defendant successfully completes the program and is not charged with any new crimes for a total of eighteen months, they will be allowed to come back to court, withdraw their plea of guilty and the court will dismiss the charge. PC-1000 probation is not available to defendants who take their cases to trial. It is only available at the pretrial stage of the case.
Prop. 36 probation is available to drug offenders who are charged with misdemeanor or felony drug possession and do have prior drug convictions on their criminal record. It is considered formal felony probation and is more expensive and more stringent than PC-1000 probation. Typically, when a defendant is granted Prop. 36 probation, they are assigned a probation officer that they must report to on a regular basis. The defendant will be evaluated with regard to the severity of their substance abuse problem and they can be ordered to participate in anything from out-patient treatment to residential treatment. If the defendant successfully completes Pro. 36 probation, they can come back to court after three years and the charge will be dismissed. Prop. 36 is available to defendants who take their case to trial even if they are found guilty.
Involuntary Home Detention
Under California Penal Code Section 1203.017 when a county jail facility becomes too overcrowded, misdemeanor level inmates can be required to serve out the remainder of their sentence confined to their homes. They receive the same amount of jail credit as they would receive had they served their sentence in jail. The defendant will often be monitored by an electronic monitoring device.
This code section also states that if there is reasonable cause to believe that a person is failing to comply with the rules or conditions of involuntary home detention, or that electronic monitoring devices are not functioning properly, the individual may be taken into custody for the remainder of their original sentence. However, a criminal defense lawyer can conduct a thorough investigation and build a strong case to help protect the rights of the accused.
Reliable, Aggressive Criminal Defense Counsel
Alternative sentencing programs help defendants keep their jobs, go to school, and generally get on with their life outside of jail or prison as they fulfill their sentence. Some alternative sentencing programs will result in lowered charges or outright dismissals if completed successfully. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime in California, please contact the Ventura, Santa Clarita, and Los Angeles attorneys at the Kann California Defense Group to find out if you have any alternative sentencing options. Our goal is to keep our clients out of jail and ensure that they are able to keep their jobs, get a second chance, and move on with their lives. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.