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The bad news is that you've been convicted of a crime. The good news is that even if the conviction carries a possible prison sentence, you may be able to avoid jail by receiving some form of alternative sentencing.
There are many different forms of alternative sentencing such as probation or in-house arrest. These forms of sentencing are usually reserved for less severe crimes and allow someone to rehabilitate without going to jail, while also sparing the already overburdened prison system.
Whether you receive one of these options as an alternative to jail will depend upon the specific facts of your conviction. The following are some general rules on how to avoid jail following a criminal conviction.
First, you should know that if you have been convicted of a serious crime like rape or murder, even the best attorney probably won't be able to help you beat jail time. However, if you've been convicted of less serious crimes like drug offenses or misdemeanors, you may make an ideal candidate for alternative sentencing.
Along with gauging the severity of the crime, you have the best chance at receiving alternative sentencing if you have no criminal history. If you can show that you made a mistake and are not a danger to society, a judge will more likely offer you a suspended sentence or put you on probation. In these cases, the prison sentence is usually put off until you do something wrong again. And if you keep your nose clean, the prison sentence could be put off forever.
Next, you are more likely to avoid jail if you did not seriously injure any victims. For example, if you have been convicted of a drug crime or a white collar crime, you are probably more likely to receive alternative sentencing than had you assaulted someone or burnt down someone's home.
Finally, a judge will likely consider your remorse when determining if you should avoid jail. If you express no remorse whatsoever, a judge may impose prison as a punishment regardless of how minor the crime. On the other hand, if you are truly sorry and vow never to do anything wrong again, you would make a more attractive candidate for alternative sentencing.