Are There Alternatives to Going to Jail?

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Are there alternatives to going to jail?

In the Commonwealth of Kentucky, a defendant convicted of an offense is usually punished through imprisonment in county jail or state prison. The major purpose of incarceration is to deprive the offender of their liberty and protect the immediate society against crime. However, imprisonment has several drawbacks on the lives of the defendant, their loved ones, and American society.

Furthermore, imprisonment institutionalizes a defendant and causes loss of family connections. The physical and mental health of the prison will also be exposed to the negative impact of jail or prison. Fortunately, there are other alternative sentencing options that can properly caution, reform or rehabilitate the defendant. An experienced Kentucky criminal defense attorney can enlighten you about your alternatives to going to jail and help protect your legal rights.

At the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates PLLC, we are dedicated to offering knowledgeable legal counsel and reliable representation to clients in alternative sentencing matters. Our trusted attorneys can evaluate the different state statutes and rules addressing your personal situation and help you understand your possible alternative to imprisonment. We’re proud to represent clients across Shepherdsville, Jeffersontown, Louisville, Elizabethtown, Radcliff, and Mount Washington, Kentucky.

Understanding Alternative Sentencing

There are alternatives to going to jail. Alternative sentencing can be described as various kinds of punishment that a court can impose on a convicted defendant, besides incarceration in county jail, state prison, or the death penalty. The primary aim of alternative sentencing is to encourage reform and rehabilitation while awarding a fitting punishment to the defendant.

What Are the Benefits of Alternative Sentencing?

Here are some benefits of alternative sentencing:

  • It encourages reform and rehabilitation.
  • It helps the offender to avoid institutionalization.
  • It improves the prospects of successful recovery.
  • It allows the offender to learn essential life skills and lessons.
  • It helps prevent potential risks of relapse.
  • It helps mitigate the adverse consequences of imprisonment on the defendant’s physical and mental health.
  • It ensures that county jails and state prison spaces are used effectively.
  • Defendants will have better access to safe addiction treatment, support, and professional counseling during their rehabilitation period.
  • It reduces the community cost of running jails and prisons, thereby saving taxpayers’ money.

Essentially, every party, including the defendant, community, and state, can benefit from alternative sentencing. Our experienced criminal defense attorney can review every last detail of your case and help decide the right sentencing alternative for your personal situation.

Types of Alternative Sentencing

In order to qualify for alternatives to going to jail there are several factors the Court may consider. Eligibility for alternative sentencing in Kentucky usually depends on the defendant’s criminal record, the type, seriousness, and severity of the offense. Here are some of the sentencing alternatives in the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

Pretrial Diversion Program

A pretrial diversion program is available to defendants facing charges for misdemeanors or minor felonies in Kentucky. The program will require the defendant to participate in community service or attend rehabilitation. To be eligible for a pretrial diversion program,

  • You must be facing misdemeanor or Class D felony allegations.
  • You must have no prior felony conviction within the previous ten years before the current offense.
  • You must not be on parole, probation, or released from prison for a felony within the previous ten years.

Upon completing the diversion program, the defendant can avoid jail time and other criminal penalties. The charges may also be removed from your criminal record.

House Arrest

House arrest – commonly referred to as Home Incarceration with Electronic Monitoring – is a sentencing alternative that requires the defendant to be confined at home and fitted with an electronic monitoring device (ankle bracelet). The ankle bracelet will be used to monitor the defendant’s whereabouts.

In Kentucky, house arrest may be ordered if the judge believes that the defendant will rehabilitate better while staying within their immediate community. If the defendant moves out of the allowable area/range, the ankle bracelet will notify the monitoring unit or probation department through a transmitting signal.

Community Service

Under Kentucky Revised Statute Section 533.070, the court may “sentence the defendant to work at community service-related projects” if imprisonment isn’t required or as an alternative to jail. In court-ordered community service, the defendant will work for the state, an agency, a county, city, urban-county government, special district, nonreligious-sponsored nonprofit, or charitable organization. The defendant may be asked to:

  • Perform voluntary or unpaid work within the community or city
  • Speak at a program, event, or school about the implications of violating the law
  • Handle treatment programs or meetings at the facility
  • Counsel or sponsor other substance abusers


Under Kentucky law, probation may be imposed as an addition or alternative to imprisonment. Probation eliminates or reduces the time that a defendant must spend in prison or jail. Conditions for probation shall be imposed by the Kentucky court. Violating any conditions of the probation may result in harsh consequences, including probation revocation, further sentencing, fines, or jail time.

However, there are numerous other alternative sentencing options available to defendants in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, depending on their unique circumstances. A skilled defense counsel can fight for your best interests and attempt to negotiate a favorable plea deal, including possible alternatives to imprisonment.

Trust a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney

Are there alternatives to going to jail in Kentucky? A criminal conviction in Kentucky can have far-reaching, immediate, and life-long implications on your personal reputation, quality of life, liberty, career, and future opportunities. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you must serve jail or prison time. There are other alternatives to jail that allow you to serve your punishments without being incarcerated. Our skilled criminal defense attorney can explore your different legal options and help you make intelligent decisions.

At the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates PLLC, our attorney has the resources, expertise, and diligence to guide and represent individuals searching for alternatives to incarceration. As your legal counsel, we can investigate every aspect of your case thoroughly, help you understand your available sentencing options, and determine whether you are eligible.

Contact the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates PLLC or call (502) 509-1490 today to schedule a simple case assessment with knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers. We’re proud to represent clients across Shepherdsville, Jeffersontown, Louisville, Elizabethtown, Radcliff, and Mount Washington, Kentucky.