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If you’re found guilty in court or plead guilty to a criminal offense, you may be eligible for alternative sentencing that can reduce or eliminate jail time and other harsh punishment.

If you’re a first-time criminal offender, you may be eligible for California’s Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) program. DEJ allows you to plead guilty to a criminal offense and later withdraw that plea after you’ve successfully completed an 18-month to three-year rehabilitation program. If you fail to complete the program, you’ll have a conviction on your record and will be sentenced accordingly.

You may also be eligible for sentencing alternatives including work furlough, electronic monitoring, community service and, when appropriate, drug or alcohol treatment, sober living environments, and attendance at 12-step meetings.

Need quick, free advice about alternative sentencing? Email an attorney a question at with the subject line: Alternative Sentencing Question

In many cases, participation in these sentencing alternatives is credited against a jail sentence. While some sentencing alternatives may seem less than enticing they can keep you out of jail, and that’s priceless.

Speak to a lawyer immediately to determine whether sentencing alternatives are an option in your case.

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