Those who face criminal charges in Texas could potentially avoid spending time in prison even if they are convicted. Because judges have the ability to hand down alternative sentences, defendants may be able to complete their punishments via means like performing community service, serving probation or paying fines. In some cases, judges can decide to impose suspended sentences on those who haven’t been convicted of crimes in the past or who face minor misdemeanor charges.
According to legal analysts, suspended sentences may be conditional, meaning defendants have to satisfy specific requirements such as not committing any other offenses for a certain time period or participating in substance abuse programs. Those who fail to meet these obligations may be subjected to additional punishments at a judge’s discretion.
Probation is most commonly used following first-time offenses, and it allows people to return back to the community, although with a lower level of personal freedom. Most probationary sentences include behavior conditions, and courts have the leeway to decide how to handle subsequent violations. Fines and restitution both involve the payment of money by the accused, but with restitution, the sum goes to a victim instead of to the state. Some criminal charges are eligible for diversion or deferred adjudication, which are programs that give the accused time to complete their pretrial conditions so they can avoid going to court.
When confronted with criminal charges, those who would rather not go to jail can’t simply rely on the fact that they’ve never been convicted before. An experienced criminal defense attorney can play a crucial role in pursuing an alternative to incarceration for a client.