Four Possible Alternatives to a Jail Sentence For Criminal Charges in New Jersey
Facing criminal charges can impact every area of your life. For students, it can affect college loans and get you kicked out of classes. For working adults, it can result in the loss of your job and your reputation within the community. Fines, court costs, and legal feels can jeopardize your financial security. The situation surrounding your charges can even threaten your relationships with friends and family members while potentially impacting your rights in family court proceedings. However, the one impact that people facing criminal charges in New Jersey tend to fear most is the possibility of going to jail. As experienced Milltown criminal defense attorneys, we want you to be aware of alternatives available in our area that can help you avoid a jail sentence.
Overcrowding in Jails and Prisons
Otherwise honest, hardworking people can easily find themselves involved in situations which put them on the wrong side of the law. Without a strong legal defense, they can end up sitting in a jail cell as a result. The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reports that the number of people in prison throughout the United States has tripled over the past 15 years. In addition to the frightening nature of being deprived of the comforts of home and the consolation of loved ones, overcrowding has the following ramifications for prisoners:
- Lack of basic medical care;
- Increased violence and gang activity;
- Limited access to work, education, and treatment programs.
Unfortunately, even relatively minor misdemeanor crimes in New Jersey can carry up to a one-year jail sentence, while felony charges can leave you imprisoned for decades.
Facing Criminal Charges? Some Alternatives can Keep You Out of Jail
When charged with any type of crime, contact our New Jersey criminal defense attorney immediately. As crowding and the high costs of keeping people in jail have worsened over the years, there are additional programs available to help you avoid a jail sentence. These include:
Drug offenses are one of the most common types of crimes. The goal of New Jersey Drug Courts is to get offenders the treatment they often need while also addressing their criminal charges. Provided you pay the associated fines, adhere to probation terms, and attend a treatment program, it can help you avoid a jail sentence.
While crimes such as vandalism and disorderly conduct may seem like petty offenses, they can still result in time behind bars. Certain offenders in the municipal court system may be offered conditional dismissal instead. As the name implies, provided they adhere to conditions imposed by the court, they can have their charges dismissed and avoid the penalties associated with a conviction.
This is an alternative sentencing option specifically for people charged with marijuana possession. Similar to conditional dismissal, their charges will be dismissed provided they adhere to conditions which typically include fines and mandatory treatment and counseling sessions.
For people facing charges related to felony offenses, New Jersey’s Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) can help prevent a prison stay. It offers first time, non-violent offenders a fresh start and a chance to expunge their criminal charges. It typically involves payment of fines, attendance at treatment programs, and a period of court-monitored probation.
Get Our Middlesex County Criminal Defense Attorneys Fighting on Your Side
The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., we fight to protect your rights when facing criminal charges, with the goal of preventing a jail sentence. Call or contact our Milltown criminal law attorneys online and request a consultation today.