A guilty verdict can be extremely scary, mostly because of the fear of losing one’s freedom. In addition, everyone has probably heard tales of how difficult life can be in confinement. Therefore, many Virginia residents invest heavily in defending themselves against various charges.
But when all defenses fail and one is sentenced, all might seem lost. However, it might not be the case because you can benefit from alternative sentencing options in Virginia. A Fairfax criminal defense attorney can help you explore options that can save you from jail.
Who Can Get Alternative Sentencing in Virginia?
Not everyone qualifies for alternative sentencing because strict rules govern it. Some of the things that are normally considered include:
- The specific circumstances of the case
- Your criminal record
- The crime you were convicted with
Every convict needs an alternative sentencing Fairfax attorney when navigating the criminal justice system in Virginia. When it’s impossible to escape a conviction, the legal expert can convince the judge that you deserve a favorable alternative sentence.
What Alternative Do I Have if I Can’t Pay Fines?
Instead of being locked up in jail until you are able to raise your fines, Virginia has a way of making you pay. Under the fines option program, you can perform a community service program to make up for the fines and court costs you owe.
Convicts taking up this program have to report at the pre-release center to move furniture, clean up litter, and paint buildings. What’s more, this happens on weekend mornings, and you won’t have to miss work for any reason.
What are the Short-Term Programs Available for Minor Offenders?
You might be eligible for an out-of-jail alternative if you have been convicted for traffic violations or misdemeanors. In addition, the Community Labor Force Offender Program (CLFO) could be available to you if you are considered a low-risk offender in Fairfax County.
However, you might have to perform manual labor to avoid jail. Some of the activities you might take part in include cleaning rivers and streams, removing graffiti, and taking part in other revitalization programs.
What I’m I Expected to Do in Community Service?
The judge presiding over your case usually uses his or her discretion to determine how your community service will be like. In most instances, convicts are given a specific number of hours to perform community service.
Additionally, the judge might assess additional penalties such as fines and costs. An alternative sentencing attorney in Fairfax can enlighten you on what to expect. They can also advise you on whether community service is ideal for your situation.
What are the Requirements of a House Arrest?
House arrest is a great way to continue working while you serve your sentence from home. However, you might not be eligible for this program if you are convicted for serious offenses, such as:
- Felony sex crimes
- Voluntary manslaughter
Even if your conviction doesn’t fall in any of the above categories, there are additional conditions that you should be willing to submit to. For instance, you will have to:
- Live in Virginia
- Be subject to random home inspections
- Pay a portion of the program’s fee
- Wear an electronic or ankle device
If you are curious to know if you are eligible for home confinement in Virginia, a Fairfax alternative sentencing lawyer can offer expert advice.
How Does a Work Release Differ From Home Arrest?
A work arrest is similar to a home arrest, but the two have several distinct variations. While you are allowed to go to work in both arrangements, the eligibility requirements are quite different. Remember that the rules vary from one county to another, but in Fairfax County, you must prove that you:
- Can live in Washington D.C, Maryland, or Virginia
- Can complete a substance abuse treatment program first
- Have never escaped from custody
- Are not being convicted for crimes involving children or a sex crime Have no violent crimes in your record
- Have no pending charges or warrants
- Have 30 to 180 days remaining in your sentence
Now that you understand how a work release works, it might be easier to decide whether to pursue it or not.
What Happens in a Weekend Confinement Program?
Under this program, a convict can work on weekdays and serve their jail sentences on weekends. The application process and the qualification requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another.
Basically, you will be released on Monday morning and report back to jail on Friday evening. Additionally, the program needs you to pay a daily fee of $2.00. Also, convicts must be willing to submit to random urine, breath, and blood tests. Finally, note that the judge can get notified if you violate any terms of the alternative sentencing.
What are the Advantages of Suspended Sentencing?
When your jail term is suspended, the judge substitutes it with a set of other conditions. Therefore, you don’t have to go to jail as long as you adhere to all the requirements of your conditional release. Conditions could include:
- Completing community service
- Paying restitution to the victims
- Completing the substance abuse treatment program
- Paying court costs and fines
- Not committing any other crime
It is worth noting that probation in Virginia can be supervised or unsupervised. But a violation can result in a hearing that will determine whether you continue with suspended sentencing or serve all or some of the initial sentence.
Attorneys Fighting for Your Alternative Sentencing in Fairfax
Better outcomes don’t end with dropped or reduced charges. Instead, it extends to the sentencing stage of your case. And in most cases, a judge is at liberty to give the highest or least possible form of sentencing.
All the judge needs are fact-based convincing that alternative sentencing would be an effective tool to encourage amends. Criminal defense attorneys at our Fairfax law firm are committed to helping you fight to get your life back. Call the office today to discuss the most appropriate alternative sentencing for your circumstance.