Choosing The Perfect Counsel

Understanding Alternative Sentencing Options

Contrary to popular belief, a guilty verdict in a criminal case isn't always followed by prison or jail time. Alternative sentencing structures like probation, deferred adjudication and suspended sentencing are just some of the other sentences that the court could pass down. If you're in the middle of a criminal case, understanding these alternative sentences can be especially helpful.


A common alternative to prison is probation. Probation allows you to remain in society, but with a number of provisions and restrictions. Any violation of the terms of your probation could result in a prison sentence or even greater restriction terms.

The tricky thing about probation is that there is no general rule of thumb. The sentencing judge has complete discretion when it comes to establishing the conditions of your probation. For some people, a seemingly minor incident like a ticket for speeding is enough to be considered a violation. First time defendants and people convicted of minor, non-violent crimes are typically extended this type of sentencing.

Deferred Adjudication

Deferred adjudication is a form of alternative sentencing that is sometimes extended in cases that involve charges related to drugs or alcohol. This form of sentencing, sometimes called a diversion sentence, allows the convicted person to complete an intense educational or rehabilitation program.

Upon successful completion of the program, the court has the option to dismiss the charges. The primary goal of this form of sentencing is to give the defendant an opportunity to get on the right path and improve themselves so that they don't commit a similar violation in the future.

Suspended Sentence

Suspended sentences can sometimes be hard to understand, because the convicted is actually handed down a prison term. However, they are not required to serve the term. This form of alternative sentencing is not common and it can come in the form of a conditional or unconditional release. A conditional release comes with terms like avoiding any future criminal charges.

Failure to meet the conditions of your suspension could reinstate your sentence and send you to prison. An unconditional release is just as it sounds. There are no guidelines or restrictions, you are basically free to live your life. Similar to probation, this form of sentencing is typically only afforded to first-time offenders.

Although a professional criminal defense attorney, like those at the Law Office of Michael Marinaro & Associates, will help you understand the terms of your sentence, having your own understanding can at least make things easier and minimize stress.

About Me

Choosing The Perfect Counsel

If you have ever been accused of a crime, then you know the absolute sinking feeling in your gut. It can be incredibly devastating to cope with the thought of living the rest of your life behind bars, which is why choosing the perfect counsel is crucial. I started thinking about who to work with a few years ago when I was accused of something that I knew I didn't do, and it was scary. However, I knew that by focusing on my innocence and finding the right professional, things would be manageable. Check out this blog for great information on choosing counsel.


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