Sentencing Alternatives and Conditional Dispositions in Pennsylvania Criminal Cases
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, alternative sentences and conditional dispositions (where charges are dropped after fulfilling certain requirements) through the State Intermediate Punishment (SIP) Program, pretrial diversion programs, and other sentencing option programs help reduce recidivism and save the state money. For this reason, more and more people find alternative punishments to prison available to them. First-time offenders of non-violent crimes and perpetrators of drug-addiction related offenses usually qualify for such alternative sentences.
Often these plea deals will be offered by the prosecution and agreed upon with the defendant’s lawyer. Sometimes these sentences will require a guilty plea. In other cases, such as in the case of conditional disposition, the charges will be dismissed after a successful completion of a rehabilitation program or other requirements, such as community service or a probation period.
What Kind of Alternative Sentences Are Available?
The type of alternative sentence offered usually depends on the type and severity of the crime. Some alternative sentencing programs require a long-term probation and strict supervision, which can be as restrictive as home arrest or as lax as simple probation, while others have rather straightforward requirements.
Sometimes the defendant will be required to still make some kind of restitution for his or her crimes, usually through financial restitution or community service. Other requirements often include fines paid to the courts or to the state. Drug and alcohol related crimes, such as possession or DUI, usually require some treatment or rehabilitation component, such as classes or in serious cases, time in a addiction rehabilitation facility.
Many lesser crimes that qualify for alternative sentences do not require a formal judgment. When you successfully finish the probationary period, the charges will be deferred or discharged. These offenses are much more likely to be able to be expunged, meaning you will have no criminal record.
In order to get the best available alternative sentence, an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer will be able to work with the prosecution on the most ideal deal. If you have been accused of a crime, it is important to get the support of a qualified attorney who understands all the options available to you in any particular case. If you have been arrested, it is important call the Pittsburgh criminal attorneys at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC right away at (412) 281-2146 for a free consultation on your case. We will work tirelessly to get you the best outcome for your case and ensure your rights are respected every step of the way.