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House Arrest and the Top 5 Alternatives to Jail

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

You may have heard about boxing champ Floyd Mayweather and his recent request to be released from prison to house arrest partly due to the fact that he did not want to drink prison tap water.

Not surprisingly, his request was denied.

House arrest is one of the many forms of alternative sentencing that may be preferred over prison. If you're convicted of a crime that normally carries jail time, you should know that you could request an alternative penalty if the circumstances dictate. Here's a look at five common alternatives to jail:

  1. Suspended Sentence. For a convict, this may be the ideal alternative sentence. With a suspended sentence, a sentence is actually decided upon, but a judge refrains from handing it down. Reasons for a suspended sentence may include that the offense is not that serious or the individual is a first time offender.

  2. Probation. Someone on probation enjoys most freedoms like not being confined to prison and having the ability to live their life the same as before. The one exception is that a judge may order some restrictions such as a curfew or prohibition from drinking.

  3. Fines. Losing your freedom probably hurts more than losing your money. However, a stiff monetary fine is still painful. The decision to impose a fine depends upon the severity and type of crime. You can probably expect a fine in lieu of jail for minor white collar crimes, not for rape and robbery.

  4. Community Service. Instead of being confined to prison, you may be confined to do good. Community service is usually an attractive alternative to jail, as an individual can use their time to benefit society, as opposed to merely doing time. Again, community service is usually limited to first time offenders and offenders of less serious crimes.

  5. House Arrest. If prison is not appropriate, house arrest may be ordered. Oftentimes, sick or particularly vulnerable individuals will receive house arrest as opposed to having to survive prison life.

While there may be many forms of alternative sentencing, the reality is that if you commit a crime, you'll have to do the time. These "easier" forms of penalties are usually reserved for first time offenders and offenders of less serious crime. A repeat violent offender is probably not going to get house arrest or a suspended sentence.

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