How we can keep you out of jail – Jail Alternatives

Alternative Programs to Jail Time

Nobody wants to go to jail, and your attorney should know how to keep you out of jail. Depending on the crime you are charged with, your attorney may be able to argue for jail alternative programs that eliminate or limit jail time.  main jail santa clara

These are among the most common alternative sentencing programs:

  • Sheriff’s work alternative program (SWAP). This is the most common jail alternative program in the Bay Area.  In a work alternative program, the defendant can serve the jail sentence by participating in a public service work project. Common examples include picking up trash in a public area (like a park or school), cleaning graffiti, and removing litter from the freeway. Most programs allow the defendant to go home after working an eight hour day. More severe programs require the defendant to spend nights in jail.
  • Work furlough program or school furlough program. In a work furlough program, the defendant goes to work or school during the day, but returns to jail to spend the night.  This jail alternative program is utilized when the jail sentence is too long for SWAP, and the defendant has a full time job.
  • Electronic monitoring program (EMP). This is commonly known as “house arrest.” With an EMP, the defendant is allowed to serve his or her sentence at home and is monitored through either GPS technology or electronic monitoring. For electronic monitoring, the offender must have a basic service telephone line installed in their house and pay up to $100/day for the service.This is the most popular jail alternative program for defendants who can afford it.
  • Weekender program. In a weekender jail program, the defendant is allowed to serve his or her jail sentence over the weekends. Some programs do not require overnight confinement.
  • Community Service Work.  In rare instances, defendants are allowed to serve their sentences at non-profit or charity organizations such as the Red Cross, local animal shelter, homeless shelter or ASPCA. These jail alternative programs are usually reserved for infractions, drug crimes, and low level misdemeanors.

The facts of your case will determine which program is available to you.  Before taking a plea or agreeing to a particular program, it is best to discuss all of your options with an attorney.