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Sentencing refers to the punishment that a judge imposes upon a defendant who has either plead guilty to a charge or who was convicted following a judge or jury trial. For California cases that involve marijuana-related charges, sentences may include probation, jail or prison time, fines, electronic monitoring (also known as house arrest) and a variety of diversionary drug treatment programs. In order to have obtain the least restrictive sentence, it is critical that an individual accused of a marijuana-related offense in this state hires an experienced California criminal defense lawyer who specializes in this area of the law and who therefore knows all of the different sentencing options available for each type of offense and the most compelling arguments to persuade a judge to impose those requested.

Penalties for the most commonly prosecuted marijuana-related offenses are listed under the “penalties” section of the main outline and may typically be found within each offense’s primary article as well. This article serves to briefly describe the alternative sentences that are only applicable to certain offenses, including a Proposition 36 sentence, diversion, drug court, sober living, drug rehabilitation and the electronic monitoring program.

Proposition 36, also known as The Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, is a law that permits many first and second time marijuana offenders to participate in drug treatment as an alternative to serving time in jail or prison. Up to one year of treatment may be ordered, followed by an additional six months of follow-up care. It should be noted that this type of sentencing is available for a simple possession of marijuana charge and is not applicable to crimes involving the sale, production or manufacturing of the drug.

Diversion is a bit different, in that it requires an individual to enter a guilty plea before he or she may receive this alternative sentencing option. It is another form of drug treatment – a series of drug education classes – which the defendant must successfully complete in order to eventually withdraw the plea and have the charges against him or her dismissed.

Drug courts exclusively handle cases involving those who have drug problems. Individuals charged with eligible marijuana-related offenses who participate in drug court will receive extensive supervision and treatment that will lessen as one successfully moves through the program. If completed, one’s charges may ultimately be dismissed.

Sober living is another alternative sentencing option that allows an individual to receive credit towards his or her jail and/or fine. Those who reside in a sober living environment are permitted to work and otherwise leave the residence during the day, returning at night to participate in treatment and classes.

Rehabilitation services may be offered to those who are charged with certain marijuana-related crimes. Drug rehab requires an individual to live in an authorized center, which may even be covered by one’s health insurance.

Electronic monitoring (also known as “house arrest”) allows an individual to avoid jail or prison by being restricted in one’s own home. Certain non-violent drug offenders may be given this option, whereby they will be fitted with an ankle-bracelet that electronically keeps track of their whereabouts. Depending on the circumstances, an individual may be permitted to work, do laundry, shop for groceries, do other personal errands and attend court and other court-ordered programs, if pre-approved by the probation department.

There are many eligibility requirements, advantages and disadvantages that are associated with each of these alternative sentencing options, which is why it is imperative that an individual charged with a marijuana offense immediately contacts a skilled California criminal attorney who can explain the differences between these programs. The outstanding attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm are well versed when it comes to alternative sentencing for their clients charged with marijuana offenses. They know the arguments that are the most effective at convincing judges and prosecutors to allow their clients to participate in these alternative sentencing options and are dedicated to favorably resolving all cases. To learn more about alternative sentencing, contact these exceptional lawyers today for a free consultation.