If you have been accused of a crime many people believe they will automatically be sentenced to prison and have to do time. That is not necessarily the case escpecially nowadays with many of the changes that have been made to sentencing laws in California.
When a person accused of a crime takes responsibility and is willing to enter into some programs and complet things offered by the courts they may be able to get the case dismissed or serve there sentence in some fashion other than Jail.
As a former probation officer, deputy district attorney, and a criminal defense attorney with more than 15 years of experience I can help you get through this part of your life.
WHAT ARE ALTERNATIVE SENTENCES?
Alternative sentences can help both the offender and society as a whole. Many people believe everyone is entitled to some form of alternative sentencing. This is not true.
There has to be a program that is suitable for you such as mental health court or military diversion or drug court and you must be willing to satisfy the terms. Below I will share with hyou some of the eligibility requirements and programs that are available.
ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING REQUIREMENTS
The Judge in your case will take many different factors into consideration in determining if you are eligible for alternative sentencing.
Whether you are charged with a violent crime
Your previous criminal history
Whether you are currently on probation or Parole
Your prior success or failure at probation or Parole
Generally if you do not have prior strikes IE serious or violent felonies and you have not been accused of a crime that disqualifies you then you may in many misdemeanor offenses and some Felony offenses be eligibible.
TYPES OF ALTERNATIVE SENTENCES AND DIVERSION PROGRAMS
I will go over some of the diversion and alternative sentencing programs below these are not meant to be exhaustive list.
MENTAL HEALTH DIVERSION PROGRAM
1. The court must find a mental health disorder as definded in the dsm manual.
2. Mental Health played a significant factor in the offense.
3. significant relationship between mental health charges and or significant relationship between d’s homelessness and charged offense.
4. Defendant waives time and consents to treatment.
5. Defendant does not pose an unreasonable danger to the community
referral must be to a currently operating mental health court.
CONSEQUENCES FOR NOT COMPLETING PROGRAM
There will always be consequences for not participating in the program such as reinstating the criminal proceedings. If the client picks up new charges or is not working in the program.
There must be a recent diagnosis by a mental health professional.
Determining Unreasonable risk of danger section 1170. 18 The court can look at the persons prior history, the factors of this offense and other factors the court deems important.
MILITARY DIVERSION PROGRAM
1. Be a current or former member of the military
2. Be sufferering from Military sexual trauma (MST) Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) Substance abuse or or Mental Health problems as a result of his or her military service.
the defendant initiates the process by completing form ri-cr052 request for military diversion, this form may vary from county to county in some countys a request is made on the record to initiate the process. The court will schedule a hearing to determine if the person qualifies and will be a good fit for the program
Individuals with a prior conviction for the same or similiar conduct are better served by a post conviction referral to the program which is also availaible in some counties.
If you or a loved one has questions please give us a call at 559-441-1418.