Alternative Incarceration in Virginia
Virginia DUI lawyer for Fairfax County, Arlington County, Prince William, Loudoun & Beyond
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Alternative incarceration covers weekends, home detention and work release, addressed by Fairfax criminal lawyer
Alternative incarceration (“AI”) is an important consideration for those likely to receive active jail time for a conviction. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that this is a critical subject to discuss with criminal defense clients.
Of course it is essential for the criminal defense lawyer to purse as much victory as possible. Nonetheless, not every criminal and DUI defendant can avoid a conviction — even with the best lawyer — so needs to prepare in advance for possible sentencing. I have blogged before about sentencing, and today will focus on alternative incarceration.
Alternative incarceration can involve weekend confinement, home detention (with GPS monitoring, whereby it is important to seek permission to go to work during that time), and work release, where the inmate sleeps at the jail and goes to his or her employment during the day.
Alternative incarceration can be a win-win situation for everyone involved
Jails are expensive and can get overcrowded. Alternative incarceration can help alleviate that, while also acting as a safety valve whereby the beneficiary will want to be on his or her best behavior so as not to be sent back to twenty-four hour a day time in jail. AI can be presented not as a cakewalk, but as a program the defendant will scrupulously follow so as not to lose such a benefit. The foregoing arguments can work better to convince judges to recommend AI and for jails to implement that approach, rather than focusing on how poorly the defendant will fare as a full-time jail inmate unless that is distinguished from the general inmate population in terms of physical and mental health, age, and any other special factors.
Approach to seeking AI
If the sentencing judge orders any active incarceration, the criminal defense / DUI lawyer should consider whether to ask the judge to recommend or authorize alternative incarceration.
Obtaining weekend incarceration would require judicial authorization, and would consider such factors as the length of the sentence, the extent to which weekends are commonly approved by the particular judge and his or her colleagues, and the extent to which the county sheriff’s department — which operates the jail — does or does not tell the court that weekend incarceration is an imposition.
Applying for home detention and work release
The criminal defense / DUI lawyer needs to know in advance whether to seek the judge’s recommendation or authorization for home detention and work release or simply to file an application with the county jail authorities. The only possible disadvantage to asking for such a judicial recommendation is if the judge orders the opposite, which has never happened with my clients.
Here are the applications for work release and home detention in Fairfax County, Virginia, and in Arlington County for submission to the respective jails.
AI and mandatory sentencing
Mandatory minimum sentencing does not preclude alternative incarceration. Although the Virginia Court of Appeals precludes electronic / GPS monitoring as a probation condition — Cuffee-Smith v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 39 Va.App. 476 (construing Va. Code § 53.1-131.2 ) — that does not preclude the Virginia jails from providing AI as a non-probationary condition, to those serving mandatory minimum sentences.
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best path against felony, misdemeanor and DUI prosecutions. For a free consultation with Jon Katz about your criminal case pending in court, please call his staff at 703-383-1100.