San Diego Criminal Lawyer Explains Jail Alternatives

Stay out of jail San Diego
Of the many consequences that can follow criminal charges, spending time in custody (jail or prison) is the most dreaded.  Being in jail can completely destroy people's lives, leading to lost wages, loss of job, deportation, and much more.  Protecting your rights and interests in criminal proceedings are of the utmost importance.  If you have been arrested or charged with a crime in San Diego, you can count on those crimes being aggressively prosecuted in court.  Consult with a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney to discuss the possibilities of avoiding a conviction.  If a conviction cannot be avoided, there are numerous custody alternatives that might make the consequences of the conviction more livable.  San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer Nicholas Loncar is well-versed in the various defenses, motions, trial tactics, negotiating methods and custody alternatives.


The best way to ensure that you do not do time in custody is to avoid a criminal conviction.  A conviction of an infraction offense is punishable only by a fine, while misdemeanor and felony offenses are punishable by jail or prison time.  It follows that if you are not convicted (by plea or by being proven guilty at trial), that you cannot be sentenced to serve any jail time.  There is still the issue of pre-trial detention, where many people are kept in custody while fighting their cases.  This is counter to the presumption of innocence, but it unfortunately commonplace in San Diego criminal cases.  People who have not been proven guilty of a crime are often kept in custody until such time as (1) a judge grants an own recognizance ("O.R.") release, (2) the case is dismissed, (3) the person is acquitted, or (4) the person posts bail to remain out of custody.  Having an experienced San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney argue on your behalf for O.R. or reduced bail can greatly improve your chances of being out of custody while fighting a criminal case.  Consult with a lawyer about your rights, defenses, the possibility of avoiding a conviction, as well as how to best get out or remain out on your own recognizance or bail.  Our office will make every effort to avoid a conviction, but it is also important to be protected in tough cases where custody may be a possibility.

A probation sentence can include up to a year in county jail time.  The goal is, through effective plea negotiation with the court and the prosecution, to help you avoid custody time.  If a case cannot be dismissed or won at trial, it is often best to have a deal for a probation term.  Negotiating for no jail time, or as little jail time as the law permits in your case is ideal.  Getting a grant of probation, particularly one with no jail time, will often require a strong showing to the court and/or prosecution that the defendant deserves an alternate sentence and should not be sentenced to jail for their offense.  Having a knowledgeable, experienced San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney on your side is absolutely imperative.

Work release and work furlough are two different programs that appeal to different types of defendants.  Work release involves an actual release from custody, whereby inmates earn custody credit by performing labor during the day (similar to community labor), and are able to sleep at home.  This program is ideal for people who have the time to fit work release into their schedule, but still have obligations at home and cannot have their lives disrupted by continued incarceration.  Conversely, work furlough is a program that allows defendants to go to work during the day, but return to custody to sleep in the jail.  This allows defendants to keep their jobs in many circumstances, thus avoiding one of the worst consequences of doing time in jail.  Community labor and community labor do not involve any actual custody; instead, they are usually conditions of probation and may be performed by defendants within the schedule set by the probation officer or court.

Also known as House Arrest , Electronic Monitoring is a favorable alternative to jail and offers defendants an opportunity to give up only a portion of their liberty, rather than be incarcerated in the county jail.  Electronic monitoring involves wearing an ankle bracelet that monitors the wearers location.  Typically, arrangements can be made for the wearer to go to work or school, so long as they are home by an appointed time.  Discuss your eligibility for electronic monitoring with your attorney.

Many drug crimes, DUI offenses (particularly repeat DUIs) and even theft crimes are deeply rooted in an underlying addiction problem.  In these instances, jail may not provide the best sentencing options.  Not only are drugs actually quite plentiful in jail, inmates are often not provided with much guidance in the form of substance abuse treatment; therefore, even those who do abstain from drug and alcohol use during their incarceration, have not been equipped with the education and motivation necessary to continue their sobriety upon release.  Whether it makes the most sense to have the court order a defendant into rehab pre-trial, to enter rehab voluntarily, or work out a sentence where custody time can be served in a rehab or sober living facility, rehab will almost always be a better option for those suffering from addiction problems.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime, avoiding jail time is likely among your chief concerns.  Contact the Law Offices of Nicholas Loncar now for a Free Consultation with a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney to discuss your possible defenses as well as custody alternatives in the event that a conviction cannot be avoided.

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Nicholas M. Loncar, Esq.
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
San Diego DUI Lawyer
T: 619-930-9515
By Nicholas Loncar   


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