Criminal law focuses on the crime and punishment of those accused and/or convicted of criminal acts. These criminal acts arte typically separated by criminal law into two categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Felony crimes are punishable by more than one year in prison and possibly fines. These crimes include rape, murder, and burglary. Trials involving felonies are tried solely in county or federal court. Misdemeanors can be tried in county or community court.
A misdemeanor is a crime punishable by less than a year in county jail or by a fine. They involve acts such as solicitation, drug possession, and minor theft.
Community court is an alternative to criminal court for defendants accused of misdemeanor crimes. This court is typically a partnership between the state government, private organizations, and law enforcement.
One goal of community court is improving quality of life in the particular neighborhood(s) it serves. This is done by proving speedy justice by helping the neighborhood prevent crime. Another goal is to help defendants convicted of crimes gain access to needed mental health and substance abuse counseling.
A community court typically handles minor criminal cases, such as public drunkenness, criminal mischief, prostitution, and vandalism.
The exact verdicts depend on the individual cases. Generally, those convicted in this court receive community service instead of a sentence of fines and jail time.
Community service is a type of alternative sentence that allows a defendant to serve his sentence outside of jail. Each jurisdiction has various types of community service activities, such as:
- Graffiti cleanup
- Cleaning parks
- Picking up trash
The community service can be completed on weekends so that it does not disrupt a person’s employment or education.
Yes. If you have a misdemeanor case, talk to a criminal attorney about the option of community court. An attorney will discuss possible sentencing options and any defenses.