An Overview of Alternative Criminal Sentences

21 October 2019
 Categories: , Blog


If you are facing a criminal charge, then you should know that alternative sentences exist alongside the conventional one of incarceration. Many people find alternative sentences lighter than incarceration. This can be a huge deal for you if you want to plea bargain your case and get a lighter sentence.  Here are some of these alternative sentences.


If you are sentenced to probation, you will be given a sentence, but you won't serve it straight away. Instead, the court will set you free but order you to adhere to certain restrictions under the supervision of a court-appointed officer (probation officer). You may get sent to jail to serve your conviction term if you violate the terms of the probation.

Fines and Restitutions

A criminal fine is a monetary penalty that the court may order you to pay if convicted of a crime. For example, a court might fine you $1,000 for drinking and driving, in which case you have to pay the money to the court. Criminal restitution is the money you pay to the victims of your crime to compensate for their losses. For example, if you crash into a wall and causes damage worth $800 due to drunken driving, the court might order you to pay $800 restitution to the owner of the wall.

Community Service

This is a form of punishment intended to benefit the community as a whole. In many cases, the type of community service you may be ordered to do will have a connection to your crime. For example, you may be ordered to clean public walls or sidewalks if convicted of littering.


This alternative sentence involves getting fitted with a tracking device. The tracking device allows the government to monitor your whereabouts at all times. This may be useful in keeping you within a specific geographic location or in making sure you don't visit restricted places.

Alcohol or Drug Treatment

An alcohol or drug treatment program is supposed to show you the dangers of drugs and alcohol and help you deal with your addiction. This is a common alternative sentence for those convicted of drug or alcohol-related crimes. For example, you may be ordered to enroll in an alcohol treatment program if you are convicted of public intoxication or driving under the influence of alcohol.

Weekend Jail

In this case, you spend your weekdays as a free person and spend the weekends behind bars until you complete your sentence. A weekend jail ensures you serve your sentence, but also get to go to work or take care of your family.

Learn more about which option is best for you and your case, contact a local criminal defense attorney.