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Types of alternative sentencing


Any resident of Bergen County who faces felony charges in New Jersey or on the federal level may take some comfort from the fact that not all convictions end in jail time. Depending on the court's discretion and outcome of the trial, there are many different types of alternative sentences that may be imposed. A convicted individual may be able to argue successfully for different forms of punishment besides prison time.

For example, the judge might choose to hand down a suspended sentence. This means that a judge refuses to decide on a sentence or chooses one and then refuses to impose it. These sentences may be unconditional or conditional. An unconditional suspension of sentence would never be carried out. Conditional sentences would be imposed if certain rules were violated, such as committing further criminal acts or failing to complete a program for the treatment of substance abuse.

Other options include probation, payment of fines, restitution to those who were harmed, community service, deferred adjudication and others. Each of these forms of alternative sentencing has different details and requirements. Probation grants convicted individuals their freedom, but they are required to submit to limitations on their behavior and substantial oversight. Fines are payments made to the court system, and restitution is made directly to anyone designated by the court who may have suffered because of the actions of the defendant.

An unfavorable judgment in court doesn't necessarily mean the end of the case. There are always the possibilities of alternative sentences or successful appeals to higher courts. An attorney's assistance can be helpful to those who are trying to contest a judgment or conviction.

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