When a judge convicts you of a crime, that does not always mean that you are headed straight to jail or prison to serve your sentence. There are alternative sentences to incarceration, depending on your situation.
Drug crimes are not uncommon, so do not fear that you are alone in your circumstance. There were over 1.5 million arrests for drug violations in the United States in 2016. If you are facing conviction of a drug crime, these are the alternatives to serving prison or jail time.
At times, a judge can delay (or suspend) a sentencing, meaning that they will either not give a sentence or refrain from carrying out a sentence. Suspended sentence can either be conditional or unconditional. Conditional sentences will still go on your record, even if you did not need to serve time. The type of suspension that you may receive depends on the severity of the crime or the number or prior offenses the defendant has.
Instead of sending you to prison, a judge could sentence a length of time that you will be required to stay on probation. Basically, instead of going to prison the state will monitor you for a period of time to ensure that you do not commit any further crimes. Often probation comes with an ankle monitoring device. Probation can be a beneficial form of rehabilitation for the accused, as it allows them to stay in connection with their employer and family.
Fine Without Jail Time
For lesser crimes, a court may approve paying a fine instead of going to jail. This is less common but could be used in situations where it is the individual’s first offense and the crime was not severe. While you may not be sentenced to prison time, the conviction may still appear on your record.
Some judges assign a defendant with the task of completing a diversion program, which can make it so that all charges are dismissed after completion. These programs can consist of different types of repayment, including treatment, community service, probation or fines. The type of program that you need to complete will depend on the crimes.
Facing drug charges can be frightening, especially with the rate of imprisonment. However, it is important to remember that there are alternatives to incarceration.