Many criminal charges in Georgia carry jail time if someone pleads guilty or the courts convict them. Misdemeanor offenses like reckless driving and violent offenses like assault can lead to months or even years in state custody. Many people fear prison, as it can be a traumatizing and dehumanizing experience.
Those accused of criminal offenses often hope to avoid the worst possible penalties, including incarceration. Having a goal of retaining your freedom is reasonable when you face criminal charges. Is there any sure way to achieve that goal?
Seek pretrial diversion
Maybe your criminal offense is a nonviolent misdemeanor that resulted from your chemical dependence. If you can connect the offense to an addiction, you might qualify for adjudication in the drug courts instead of in the standard criminal courts.
There are different kinds of pretrial diversion available for people in different scenarios, ranging from those accused of drug offenses to first-time juvenile offenders. They usually involve close supervision by the courts and concerted efforts at rehabilitation.
Successful pretrial diversion often prevents incarceration and might also protect a defendant from having a long-term criminal record.
Mount a successful defense
The surest way to avoid incarceration for a criminal charge is to convince the courts that you are not guilty of that offense. Whether you have a compelling alibi or a strong case for a self-defense claim, avoiding a conviction is the best way to ensure that you don’t spend time in state custody.
While you wait for trial, you can review the evidence against you and work with a lawyer to plan a defense strategy.
What about a plea bargain?
Many people are interested in the idea of a plea bargain, especially because of how movies and television shows present plea deals. However, in most cases, prosecutors offering plea bargains won’t have control over the sentence a judge issues. You can accept a plea and still find yourself facing time in prison. Simply put, pleading guilty is not a surefire way to avoid incarceration.
Every criminal case is different, so you need to look at your situation carefully to determine the best approach. Looking into all of your options when you face criminal charges in Georgia can help you eliminate the worst penalties that you face.