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Can First Time Offenders Avoid Jail Time?

Interviewer: Are there any other alternative punishments like diversion programs for first time offenders? Like home detention or community service or things like that?

Eric: Some counties will do that. They will absolutely have community service that can be part of a plea bargain. Some will have you do what they call interim probation, which is voluntary probation where you can have your case differed for a year. You can be on probation for that year and provided that you do well, the DA’s office will reward you with a plea bargain of some sort. There is treatment programs – people who are determined to be in need of treatment. Alcoholics that didn’t know they were an alcoholic. You get an alcohol evaluation, you need treatment.

There are all programs that you can get involved in, whether it’s a residential treatment program, or an outpatient program. And provided that you’re doing well and you’re doing what you should be doing and you don’t get into trouble during the course of this, the DA’s office will also reward you with some sort of plea bargain, whether its reducing your case or even reduction of the possible sentence that you can face in the way of a sanction.

By Eric Sachs