The potential of alternative sentencing for drug crimes


The police may have arrested you in Kentucky, and then the court may have convicted you. Throughout the process, you no doubt worried about the potential implications of your circumstances, both immediate and far-reaching. If you are eligible for alternative sentencing under conviction, you might be able to get your life back on track sooner than you might think.  

Alternative sentencing programs are often available for defendants who have faced conviction for non-violent drug or alcohol crimes. If you have no prior criminal record, were not involved in a collision that caused another person injury and can demonstrate a willingness to attain sobriety, the judge overseeing your case might decide that you are a good candidate for alternative sentencing.  

Two basic types of alternative sentencing 

The judge may order alternative sentencing at his or her discretion. One of the programs you might enter as part of your sentence is a work-release program. This means that, if you are serving a jail sentence, you would receive permission to leave the premises to go to work during normal business hours.  

If you were unemployed at the time of your arrest, the court will provide resources to help you obtain gainful employment. Another type of alternative sentencing is court-ordered rehabilitation. If you’re struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, this program might be of benefit to you. As part of this program, you might be able to enter a treatment facility rather than serve jail time. 

Data shows that jail officials are not always prepared to assist with detox 

Serving a jail sentence would force you into detox if you are addicted to drugs or alcohol. This can be problematic in a jail environment. Going through withdrawal in a crowded prison setting can be emotionally traumatic, as well as physically painful.  

In a rehabilitation facility, such as one you might enter as an alternative sentence, there are medical professionals on hand to provide support and closely monitor your condition. A rehab center also often has a much calmer atmosphere than a jail. In short, the rehab environment is much more conducive to detoxification from drug or alcohol addiction than a jail cell.  

Studies show positive results from alternative sentencing programs 

The court believes that alternative sentencing programs often help deter future drug or alcohol offenses. In one study in another state, for instance, at least 70% of those who completed alternative sentencing avoided re-offenses for five years.  

You must be willing to complete the program 

The court will monitor your progress if you have the opportunity to complete alternative sentencing. If you fail to fulfill your obligations, the judge can order you to serve the maximum penalty for the crime of which the court convicted you. In other words, you have much to gain by completing the program and a lot to lose by not doing so. 

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