Tenacity. Compassion. Commitment. Dedicated to Defending Your Rights SEE HOW I CAN HELP YOU

Alternatives to Going to Jail 

Law Offices of Andrew C. Janecki Sept. 21, 2022

Themis Statue and Judge Gavel Your thoughts about your future after conviction may be filled with worry, but a conviction does not necessarily have to lead to jail time. With the help of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, you may be able to serve an alternative sentence to jail for your conviction.  

At my firm, the Law Offices of Andrew C. Janecki, I use my 20-plus years of experience practicing California law to protect my clients’ best interests. I have handled many criminal cases in the Santa Cruz area, and I am prepared to fight for the best outcome for you. My firm represents clients in Santa Cruz, California, as well as Palo Alto, San Jose, San Francisco, and Berkeley. 

Alternative Sentencing 

Alternative sentencing is a way to serve your sentence for a crime without going to jail. There are many benefits to alternative sentencing. Most importantly, you will not have to experience spending time behind bars, and you also will not have jail time on your criminal record. Additionally, if your alternative sentencing involves community service, then your sentence could benefit your community.  

These are some of the alternatives to incarceration in California: 


Diversion involves completing a program rather than going to jail. In Santa Cruz County, someone who is eligible for mental health diversion may be transferred to the PACT (Partnership for Accountability, Connection, and Treatment) Court. This court supports people on mental health diversion to meet their treatment goals and to successfully meet the terms of their sentence. Other diversion programs may also be available. 

House Arrest 

In some cases, a person who has been convicted may be able to seek a house arrest sentence. In Santa Cruz County, this is known as an “electronic monitoring” program. The person under house arrest will be required to wear an ankle monitor bracelet that tracks their location, and they will be assigned a specific schedule of when they can leave their house for employment, school, treatment programs, and other approved activities. Speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to learn more about the possibility of house arrest as an alternative to jail. 

Community Service 

It may be possible to complete community service hours as your sentence. This is known as a Work Release Program in Santa Cruz County. To be eligible, the conviction must not be for a serious crime and the offender must meet certain criteria. Community service programs will vary depending on the California county. Consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to find out if your conviction will be eligible for community service. 


After conviction, you could potentially be released on probation. If you were convicted of a felony, you still may be eligible for probation in Santa Cruz County. A risk assessment or public safety assessment may be required to qualify for probation. This assessment considers risk factors such as your age at current arrest, current violent offense, prior convictions, prior failures to appear, and other factors. 

Legal Advocacy When You Need It Most 

Diversion programs, house arrest, community service, and probation are all preferable alternatives to jail. However, it may be difficult to secure one of these options on your own. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you seek a path forward that allows you to avoid jail.  

My firm, the Law Offices of Andrew C. Janecki, serves clients who are looking to protect their future. I have over 20 years of experience practicing law in the Santa Cruz region, and I bring that local knowledge to each of my clients’ cases. I am passionate about protecting my clients’ rights, and while you get to make the decisions, I’ll be by your side each step of the way.  

The Law Offices of Andrew C. Janecki serves clients in Santa Cruz, California, as well as Palo Alto, San Jose, San Francisco, and Berkeley. Contact my firm today to schedule your free consultation.