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Are There Alternatives to Going to Jail?

Wiberg Law Office, PLLC
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Every year, according to statistics from the Prison Policy Initiative, about 25,000 people are booked into local jails in New Hampshire. In New Hampshire, many convicted defendants are often sentenced to county jails or state prisons as a punishment for their crimes. Unfortunately, imprisonment often affects the defendant's physical and mental health and may lead to increased risks of recidivism. 

Thankfully, there are other alternatives to sentencing options – such as probation, diversion programs, community service, and house arrest – that can rehabilitate defendants and help them avoid the negative effects of institutionalization. Attorney Wiberg has a history of assisting clients in alternative sentencing-related matters. 

As a reliable New Hampshire criminal defense attorney, he can examine all of the facts of your case, explore your alternatives to going to jail, and help decide whether you're eligible. Wiberg Law Office, PLLC proudly serves clients across Portsmouth, Strafford County, Rockingham County, Manchester, Dover, and Hillsborough, and all areas of New Hampshire. 

Understanding Alternative Sentencing

Alternative sentencing involves different punishments that a court can subject a convicted offender to apart from imprisonment, jail time, or the death penalty. The major purpose of alternative sentencing is to encourage rehabilitation while giving a fitting punishment to the defendant. 

What Are the Benefits of Alternative Sentencing?

Here are some of the benefits of alternative sentencing: 

  • It can help the offender avoid the negative impact of institutionalization. 

  • It helps avoid the negative impact of imprisonment on the defendant's physical and mental health. 

  • Defendants will be exposed to important life skills and lessons. 

  • It ensures the effective usage of county jails and prison spaces. 

  • It helps prevent the possibility of recidivism and ensures successful recovery. 

  • Defendants can receive professional counseling, safe addiction treatments, and the necessary support during their reformation period. 

  • It helps reduce the community cost of operating county jails and state prisons. 

An experienced criminal defense lawyer can assess every aspect of your case and educate you about your alternative sentencing options. Attorney Wiberg can review the facts and assist you through the process. Using his broad understanding of the New Hampshire Sentencing guidelines, Attorney Wiberg will represent you in your case and help determine the right sentencing alternative that best fits your personal situation. 

Types of Alternative Sentencing

Alternative sentencing can help you avoid imprisonment and, in some cases, a criminal record. However, eligibility for these sentencing alternatives in New Hampshire often depends on various factors. The following are some jail alternatives available in New Hampshire: 

Diversion Programs 

In New Hampshire, diversion programs are designed to allow some first-time offenders and low-risk defendants to complete their rehabilitation rather than being convicted or going to jail. This usually involves diverting the criminal case out of the court. Here are some available diversion programs in New Hampshire: 

  • Juvenile diversion and mediation programs 

  • Pretrial Diversion (PTD) Program 

  • Educational programs about substance abuse or crime impact 

  • Felony Diversion Program 

  • Misdemeanor Diversion Program 

Once the defendant completes the necessary requirements of the diversion program, the prosecution attorney will dismiss or drop the criminal charges. 

House Arrest 

House arrest, also known as home confinement, allows the defendant to live – and serve their punishment – at home. Essentially, the court presumes that the offender can cope better while living at home or in their community. Also, the defendant under house arrest may be required to wear an electronic bracelet. This will alert the Department of Corrections (DOC) if the defendant isn't at home or if they step outside the permissible range. 

Community Service 

The judge may order the offender to perform volunteer work within the community for a specific period (hours) rather than being imprisoned. The voluntary projects or unpaid work performed through community service will benefit the immediate community that was affected by the illegal acts of the defendant. Some common examples of community service include: 

  • Perform unpaid work in the community. 

  • Work at a nonprofit organization or public agency. 

  • Sponsor or counsel other drug abusers. 

  • Speak at a school about the consequences of violating the law. 

  • Oversee substance treatment meetings. 

In some cases, the court may order community service as a separate sentence or as part of probation conditions. 


Also, the court may order probation or supervised release to help eliminate or reduce the time that a defendant will spend in custody. During probation, the defendant will be under the guidance and supervision of a Probation/Parole Officer (PPO). The court will impose certain conditions and terms to the supervised release. If the defendant violates any terms of their probation, the court may revoke the probation and send them to jail. 

However, there are still other sentencing alternatives, and various factors will be considered, including the defendant's criminal history, the nature, and the seriousness of the offense committed. A dependable lawyer can analyze all of the facts of your case and help determine your eligibility for any of these alternatives to jail. 

You Have Rights. Use Them.

Contact Wiberg Law Office, PLLC, today to schedule a simple case assessment with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Wiberg has the experienced legal guidance and skilled representation you need to negotiate the most favorable sentencing alternative. The firm proudly serves clients across Portsmouth, Strafford County, Rockingham County, Manchester, Dover, and Hillsborough, New Hampshire.