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What Is Creative Sentencing?

A person convicted of a criminal act is sentenced, or punished. The criminal sentence depends on the crime, the offender’s criminal history and the jurisdiction. In many cases, a judge presiding over the case will determine the appropriate sentence. A judge has the option of sentencing an offender to different types of criminal sentences.

A creative sentence is a type of alternative sentence, often with an “eye-for-an-eye” type of punishment. For example, a defendant who punished for an animal cruelty has to experience a similar punishment.

What is a Traditional Sentence?

A traditional criminal sentence is punishment already imposed for the crime. For example, a criminal sentence for theft may be 60 days in jail. A traditional sentence often includes:

What Is an Alternative Sentence?

An alternative sentence is criminal punishment for a crime that deviates from the traditional sentencing options. Forms of alternative sentencing include:

How is a Creative Sentence Different from an Alternative Sentence?

Like an alternative sentence, a creative sentence reduces the number of offenders in jail. However, a creative sentence supposedly teaches the offender a lesson. An alternative sentence allows an offender to stay out of jail, but serve his criminal sentence.

May I Chose My Creative Sentence?

No. In most jurisdictions, a judge choses the creative sentence.

Will a Judge Allow Me to Turn Down the Creative Sentence for a Traditional Sentence?

It depends on the judge. Some judges may give offenders the option of choosing a creative or traditional sentence. Other judges will impose the creative sentence.

Will I Know I’m Eligible for a Creative Sentence?

No. Most of the time the creative sentence is given at sentencing.

Should I Speak with an Attorney Prior to Accepting a Creative Sentence?

Yes, contact a criminal defense attorney prior to accepting a creative sentence. The attorney will advise you of your rights regarding the alternative sentence.

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Last Modified: 02-29-2016 01:30 PM PST

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