Need an Alternative Sentence in Gillette? You May Be Eligible
Anyone who has faced criminal charges understands that it’s an extremely stressful situation. A criminal conviction can destroy your life, negatively impact your reputation, diminish your ability to earn a living, and even take your freedom away.
With so much on the line, many people are unaware that there are options for “paying their debt to society” while avoiding extensive jail time. Let’s talk alternative sentencing in Wyoming.
What Is Alternative Sentencing?
Alternative sentencing comprises all of the different forms of punishment that a court can impose on a defendant after he’s been convicted of an offense, other than a jail term or the death penalty. It’s also called community sentencing or non-custodial sentencing. It is a powerful tool for judges and courts to impose a punishment that is tailored to the crime and has the best chance of having a positive impact on society, and the defendant, too.
These programs are not open to everyone. Defendants must meet certain criteria. It depends largely on the type of crime that was committed and whether or not the accused has any prior convictions. But for those who qualify, alternative sentencing programs offer an opportunity to avoid the kind of punishment that could ruin their lives.
What Types of Alternative Sentences Are Available?
Wyoming judges have many options at their disposal when it comes to sentencing. Some of them are common; others are much rarer or only open to a small number of qualified defendants.
The most common form of alternative sentencing involves monetary fines. In fact, they are so common they don’t really seem like an alternative. Speeding and parking tickets are two examples. In criminal cases, judges often use fines as an additional punishment rather than an alternative, tacking them onto the sentence. But a smart Gillette criminal defense attorney has the ability to negotiate a fine in exchange for lowering or getting rid of a jail term altogether.
Another option for judges is to issue a suspended sentence. The judge hands down a sentence but does not actually enforce it. This is typically used with non-serious crimes or first-time offenses. In other cases, there will be some condition imposed along with the suspension, such as completing a substance abuse program.
Likewise, probation is an option that requires the accused to fulfill certain conditions or risk having the probation revoked and being sent to jail. As with fines, probation and suspended sentences are often negotiated between the prosecution and the defense lawyer.
Another common choice for judges is to order restitution. This is similar to a fine, except the money goes towards the victim of the crime to compensate any financial setbacks caused by the crime, such as for medical expenses or property damage. Similar to a fine, this might be used as an additional punishment in some cases, rather than as an alternative.
Other times, a judge will order the defendant to perform community service. This could be through a local or regional program, such as a highway cleanup program. Sometimes, it’s possible to negotiate a specific form of service that’s related to the crime, such as a person who was arrested for a drug offense lecturing young people about the dangers of getting involved with drugs.
Finally, many municipalities and counties have special diversion programs that result in the charges being dismissed if the defendant meets certain criteria. The aim of such programs is to give offenders the opportunity to show they have learned from their mistakes and will be unlikely to repeat them. If they fail to stay clean during their probationary period, charges will again be brought against the offenders.
One example of a Wyoming diversion program is the Intensive Supervision Program (ISP). This program “promotes public safety through increased accountability” with options such as electronic monitoring, drug and alcohol testing, and unannounced home or work visits. The goal is to enact long-term behavioral change via cognitive behavioral intervention, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, life skills development, and educational or vocational training.
How Do You Qualify for an Alternative Sentence?
Well, you must meet the criteria and convince a judge that you would be a good candidate. Wyoming courts have a tremendous amount of discretion when it comes to sentencing.
Or, you could have a skilled Wyoming defense attorney do it for you.
The trial lawyers at Steven Titus & Associates, P.C., have experience with alternative sentencing. In fact, Steven Titus recently demanded Boot Camp for his deserving client, arguing that for a judge not to sentence her to Boot Camp was inherently unjust, and sexist.
Call today to schedule a free consultation with our team at (307) 257-7800.
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