The main purpose of the criminal justice system is to punish criminals, usually with fines or jail time. However, offenders sometimes need rehabilitation more than they need a few years of prison. And sometimes rehabilitating offenders costs the state a lot less money than housing and feeding prisoners. For these reasons, Florida sometimes makes alternative sentencing programs available, depending on the offense and your criminal history. Reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney today to talk about your options.
Many defendants in drug cases are first-time offenders who don’t carry the risk of reoffending if they can get treatment. Drug court is a good option for many of our clients. Instead of spending time in jail, you can get probation and substance abuse treatment, which will allow you to start making positive steps forward.
Drug court can eliminate or reduce any criminal charges. If you have little or no prior criminal history, you can enter Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI), and at the end of the program, the court will dismiss your criminal charges.
However, drug court is also an option for other offenders as a condition of their probation. In these situations, the court won’t dismiss your criminal charges once you complete treatment, but you may avoid a felony conviction. Afterward, you might qualify to have your criminal record sealed.
If you’re a non-violent offender, you might also qualify for day reporting in place of going to jail. Essentially, you must report every day to your probation officer or another member of law enforcement. Typically, you must also complete a community service requirement or other volunteer work. Day reporting is a good option for people who need regular check-ups to make sure they stay on the right path.
Like day reporting, electronic monitoring can help you avoid jail, but instead of meeting with a probation officer every day, you will wear an electronic tracking device. You typically can attend school or a job, but if you travel too far away, or to places the program bans, law enforcement will know, and you could end up back in jail.
Electronic monitoring is also available for people convicted of alcohol-related crimes. The court may require that you install a breathalyzer in your car or wear an ankle bracelet that continuously measures the alcohol content in your sweat.
Contact a St. Petersburg Criminal Defense Attorney Today
An arrest doesn’t necessarily mean jail time, especially if you are a first-time offender picked up for a non-violent felony. However, you’ll need a skilled criminal defense attorney who can guide you through the process of identifying and applying for Florida’s various alternative sentencing programs. As a former prosecutor, Rohom Khonsari of Khonsari Law Group has years of experience with Florida’s alternative sentencing programs and can help you qualify for one of them. Call today at (727) 269-5300 for a free case evaluation and consultation or fill out our online contact form to start the process.