How Does Alternative Sentencing Work in NYC?

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How Does Alternative Sentencing Work in NYC?


New York offers a number of ATI, or “Alternative to Incarceration” programs. These programs keep over 5,000 people out of jail every year.

In some cases, your New York City criminal defense lawyer can help you take advantage of these programs. Here’s what you need to know.

Types of Programs

There are several types of ATI programs.

For example, you can be sentenced directly to probation instead of to jail. You will have to live under certain restrictions, and meet with a probation officer on a regular basis.

Community service is another ATI program, as are fines and restitution.

Suspended sentencing or deferred adjudication are other options. You agree to meet certain conditions, such as attending a drug treatment program or an anger management program. There are many such programs, as our courts work with ten separate nonprofit organizations to make them available. In return, the judge or the DA defers either sentencing or prosecution. If you successfully complete the conditions the case is dropped.

House arrest is another option. This is a program that allows offenders to remain at home, monitored by an electronic bracelet. Some programs allow an offender to work, and to travel to and from work. 

ATI Placement

ATI is most likely for those who agree to a plea bargain. It is rarely offered to those who take their case all the way to trial. Thus a good criminal defense lawyer must carefully negotiate for such an arrangement before bringing the plea bargain back to the client, and must be able to evaluate when such an arrangement will be superior to attempting to push for an acquittal. 

Even some non-violent felonies are eligible for ATIs. Non-violence is key: judges and prosecutors alike take careful stock of the likely threat that a defendant could pose to public safety before recommending or agreeing to an ATI program.

An attorney can help make a case for an ATI by encouraging judges and prosecutors to consider the defendant’s family and community ties, as well as the defendant’s employment history. 

We ourselves carefully evaluate our client for fitness for ATI programs. We only want to make the attempt when we think our clients have a good chance of completing them. ATI failures tend to result in much more jail time than a guilty verdict alone.

Get Help Today

If you’ve been charged with a crime then you need the help of an expert criminal defense attorney to protect your life and future. We can work to get your charges dropped or dismissed or, if this is not possible, work to attempt to use the ATI process to minimize the disruption to your life and future.

We have the time and resources to actually look at the facts of your case and to investigate them. We’re more affordable than most people realize, and we fight hard to protect your rights.

Contact us for a consultation today.

See also:

Can NYPD Enter Your Home Without a Warrant?

Does the DA Prosecute Minor Crimes in Manhattan?

What is New York’s 911 Good Samaritan Law?

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