If you were charged and found guilty of a crime in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you may be surprised to find out that you may actually not have to go to jail or prison. Alternative sentencing is a type of penalty designed to reduce the rate of recidivism among convicted criminals while enabling them to reintegrate into a functioning society.
Here’s what you should know about alternative sentencing after being convicted and how you can increase your chances of receiving an alternative sentence instead of jail time.
What Kinds of Alternative Sentences Are There?
There are nearly as many different kinds of alternative sentences as there are crimes. Additionally, Massachusetts judges have the freedom to sentence defendants to new penalties if they are designed to better fit the crime and reduce the risk of recidivism.
Here are several of the most common alternative sentences:
- Restitution and monetary fines. If you were convicted of a crime that caused financial damages to the city, state, or a victim, you may be ordered to pay fines and reimburse the victim for the harm you instigated.
- Suspending your sentencing. A judge can choose to suspend your sentence if they believe you are a low-risk defendant or are unlikely to reoffend. There are two types of suspended sentences: conditional and unconditional. A conditional suspended sentencing suspension requires you to meet certain criteria established by the judge, while an unconditional sentencing suspension typically doesn’t have any strings attached.
- Deferring your adjudication. A judge may also decide to defer your adjudication for similar reasons. If this sentence is imposed, you’ll be given the opportunity to illustrate your rehabilitation for a period of time. If you fail to do so, your adjudication will likely proceed.
- Ordering community service. You may be ordered to complete community service as a sole penalty, or it may be added to your overall sentencing depending on the crime you were convicted of.
- Putting you on probation. You may be required to meet with a probation officer regularly to ensure you are abiding by court orders.
Get Help from a Zealous Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Now
Seasoned Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer Thomas Kokonowski understands how challenging it can be to face a criminal trial, especially when the possibility of incarceration is on the table. Call now for your initial consultation to discuss your case and potential defense strategies at 413-585-9200 (Northampton), 413-549-0022 (Amherst), or 413-737-9700 (Springfield).