The criminal justice system has many tools at its disposal to handle convictions. It is imperative that these aren’t too harsh for the crime, but they shouldn’t be easy either.
The purpose of the criminal justice system is ultimately to punish people who commit crimes. Really, it shouldn’t stop there. The sentences should also help create more responsible citizens who will be able to stay out of trouble. However, the person who is sentenced has to want this to happen.
One way that the court might be able to walk the fine line between these two is to use alternative sentences when a person is convicted of a crime. These don’t involve immediate time in prison, but they do provide some form of punishment. Some also include rehabilitation so that the person can learn how to live a life on the right side of the law.
Some judges rely on probation to address convictions. Under this program, the person is under the supervision of a corrections officer. They must meet specific requirements, but they are allowed to live in the community where they can have a home and find a job.
Another option is a pretrial diversion program. Some of these, such as drug court, seek to help address the underlying issues that are leading criminal behavior while providing the oversight of the court. There is also the option of a suspended sentence, which is one that isn’t imposed immediately. These might only be put into effect if the person doesn’t meet specific requirements, such as staying out of legal trouble.
It is essential that you look into what sentences you might face in your criminal case. This will give you an idea of what you should brace for if you think that a conviction might be possible. Even if you don’t think that you will be convicted, knowing what is possible may help you as you work with your attorney on your defense strategy.