Does every criminal case end up with me going to jail?

The simple answer is no. Most people who are arrested for a criminal offense believe they will end up in jail. But that is not always the case. Sometimes, there are reasons why a Prosecutor, or based on the strength of the case against you, or the Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney you hire, where you can resolve a criminal case without any jail time at all. In addition, there are sometimes other alternatives that exist where you can serve a jail sentence in something other than the horrible image of jail you have in your mind.

Whether you are able to get a sentence other than jail in your criminal case, depends on numerous factors, such as where your case is located (city, county), your criminal record, and the specific facts of your case.

What are alternatives to Jail?

Depending on where your case is located, you can serve your jail “custody” in something other than jail.

Some alternatives to jail include:

  1. Work Release
  2. House Arrest
  3. Community Service
  4. Electronic Monitoring
  5. Rehabilitation Classes (Drug and Alcohol)
  6. Drug Court
  7. DEJ
  8. Pay to stay Jail

Some of the above options are not available to every person. For example, in San Bernardino and Riverside County, Work Release is an alternative to Jail time that your attorney can secure for you. This would keep you out of serving actual, physical jail, and instead allow you to do some kind of Community Service or Trash Pick up, similar to that of Cal Trans. This is not available to everyone though. For example, Orange County does not use the same Programs, so you may not be eligible to obtain programs like Work Release.

When is Alternative Sentencing available to me?

Some people believe a sentence other than jail is only available to people charged with low-level misdemeanor offenses. However, it is possible for a person who is facing even a serious felony offense, to be eligible to serve their jail time through something other than actual custody. If you have a lengthy prior record, and you are ineligible for Probation, then you would not be eligible to serve your time on something other than actual custody time.

Speak with your Criminal Defense Attorney about whether you are eligible for an alternative sentence and if it can apply to your specific case.


A criminal conviction can have a devastating impact on your life, your future, and your freedom. You normally are in a bad spot when facing any kind of arrest, and that problem because more confounded with the fear of having to go back into jail. Many people say that when they are arrested, it is the worst moment of their lives and the worst night of their lives. Having the ability to serve your sentence on work release, or house arrest, for example, allows you to continue working, or going to school, and moving on from a horrible experience. Here at Inland Empire Criminal Defense, we can help advise if you are first eligible to obtain some sentence other than jail, and secondly, to help you achieve that.

We can help you through your criminal case, and the sentencing alternatives available to you, give me a call at 909-939-7126.