Information on Alternative Sentencing
We begin our defense strategy the minute we receive your first phone call to our office. Our goal is, first and foremost, to obtain the best possible disposition of your case. In a perfect world that would, of course, be a dismissal of the charges or failing that, a verdict of not guilty. In some cases, however, this is just not realistic or possible. Depending on the particular facts of the case or the wishes of our client sometimes the best possible disposition is to minimize the sentence or secure a favorable and creative alternative sentence.
What exactly does this mean? Although the goal of juvenile court is, at least to some extent, rehabilitation, the goal of the system in adult court is pure punishment. What could be more of a punishment than incarceration? This is why the sentence is, generally speaking, jail time. However, that doesn’t mean it is the only sentence that is possible. When a dismissal or not guilty appears to be an impossibility, we immediately start thinking creatively as to what would be acceptable to the court but be more advantageous to our client. In alternative sentencing it is our job to present you in the best possible light, and to highlight any unusual circumstances that have a bearing on your case.
The goal of alternative sentencing is to have you sleep in your own bed, be in your own home, be with your loved ones and be able to take care of sick or infirm loved ones while still satisfying the system’s demand for punishment.
The following are some examples of alternative sentencing:
- Drug and alcohol rehabilitation -- We have close relationships with many drug and alcohol centers. Mr. Loewenstein has been very successful in obtaining the court’s approval for drug or alcohol rehabilitation instead of jail time. You can even be allowed one day jail credit for each day you spend in the rehabilitation center.
- Electronic confinement – This is the use of an ankle bracelet or even GPS system which allows the client to be free in the community yet be electronically monitored as to time and place. We have been successful in getting our clients approved for electronic monitoring rather than spending time in jail. Mr. Loewenstein has been able to obtain this alternative sentence even for clients who have been convicted of fraud totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Electronic confinement combined with drug and alcohol testing – It is our job to reassure the court that this combination is a good alternative to jail. Where drugs and/or alcohol has been a factor in the client’s arrest, the court will be concerned with having the client in the community without being assured that the client is clean and sober. Through Mr. Loewenstein’s efforts it may be possible to
be released into the community both before sentencing and after through the use of electronic confinement in combination with drug and alcohol monitoring.
- Community Service – We have been able to place many clients with non profit groups doing a variety of community service activities rather than going to jail.
- Pay to Stay Jails – When the court demands actual jail time there may still be an alternative. Pay to stay jails are in many locations in Southern California. They are privately run municipal jails that charge a fee to stay. Because Mr. Loewenstein has worked with many of the pay to stay facilities, he has been able to get his clients admitted even in cases of theft and drug possession, both of which are ordinarily not allowed. This program can work in several ways:
- Work furlough – In this case you are allowed to leave in the morning to go to work. You return in the evening and spend the night in the municipal jail. You continue to do this until you have fulfilled the required number of days ordered.
- Weekend jail – In some instances you will check into the municipal jail Friday evening and stay there until Monday morning. At that time you will go off to work and stay in your own home until Friday night when you will check in for another weekend stay. This will be repeated until the number of jail days ordered have been satisfied.
- Trusty Program -- Some municipal jails will allow you to essentially work off your punishment. In this case, you would arrive at the jail in the morning and work there all day, doing whatever they ask, and then leave in the afternoon, just like a job. This would go on until you have satisfied the number of days ordered.
- Private Pre Plea Report – This is a report that we have prepared by a private psychologist or sentencing consultant which tells the court about you. This report recites the history of the case, including the facts and highlights your social history, as told from your own point of view. It is used to assist the court in finding the best and most advantageous and appropriate sentence rather than going with whatever the Probation Department recommends.
In order to be persuasive in convincing the judge to grant any alternative sentence, the attorney needs to have tremendous credibility with the court. In 30 years of practicing law in Southern California, Mr. Loewenstein has built a solid reputation with the courts for fair dealing and honest representation. He is able to secure these alternative sentences precisely because he is trusted by the judges.