Jail Alternatives in Texas
In many cases, being convicted and incarcerated leads to a worse outcome for an individual than the outcome he or she would have had through rehabilitation or another form of supervision. Because of research supporting the benefits of rehabilitative efforts and education programs in place of incarceration, many counties and states are implementing these alternatives to help the population.
Below is a short guide to the jail alternatives available in Texas. Not everybody qualifies for each program. During your initial consultation with a criminal defense lawyer, discuss your eligibility for any of the available diversion programs in your county. Completing one of these programs in lieu of going to jail can change your life for the better.
Dallas County Pretrial Services
Dallas County provides the following pretrial release services, which allow an individual to remain out of jail while released on bond. To remain out of jail, the individual must comply with the terms of the bond and the program.
- Alternative Sentencing Program. At the judge’s discretion, a defendant may be sentenced to house arrest instead of serving time in county jail. In addition to keeping the defendant out of the jail environment, it keeps the jail from becoming overcrowded;
- Electronic Monitoring Program. Through this program, an individual on house arrest may attend school and/or work, which can be crucial to an individual who needs to support him- or herself or a family. This can also help the individual secure work after his or her sentence is complete; and
- Pretrial Release. Individuals charged with Class A misdemeanors, Class B misdemeanors, and some felonies can spend time at home, rather than in jail, while waiting their cases’ dispositions through this program.
Depending on the circumstances of his or her case, the individual may be required to use an alcohol monitoring device while out on bond or as a condition of his or her release.
DIVERT Court Program
The Dallas Initiative for Diversion and Expedited Rehabilitation and Treatment (DIVERT) program exists to help individuals charged with certain drug offenses avoid incarceration and get the help they need to overcome their substance addictions. To be eligible for this program, an individual must be charged with:
- His or her first felony charge; and
- It must be a third degree felony or a state jail felony.
In the DIVERT program, the participant receives intensive drug treatment for 12 to 18 months. In order to enter the program, he or she must be diagnosed with a substance addiction that requires treatment. This treatment can include inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation. If the participant successfully completes the program and is not arrested again in the following two years, he or she can have the original charge expunged.
Work with an Experienced Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a criminal charge, you have a few legal options. One of them could work with the court to get into one of the jail alternatives available in Texas. Discuss these options and the criminal justice process as a whole with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to ensure that you are fully educated about your rights and have a realistic expectation for the criminal justice process. Contact J. Michael Price II today to schedule your initial consultation in our office.