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Are There Alternatives to Going to Jail?

Military Law Group 
Hands of a prisoner holding bars of their jail cell

In Oklahoma, imprisonment remains one of the most common punishments that are usually imposed on defendants convicted of misdemeanor and felony crimes. However, incarceration is known to cause harm to the mental and physical health of defendants, psychological stress, increased risks of recidivism, and issues with family members. Thankfully, sentencing alternatives such as diversion programs, house arrest, probation, and community service can help reform or rehabilitate offenders properly while avoiding the adverse impacts of institutionalization. 

At Military Law Group, we help clients discover their options when it comes to alternative sentencing. Our seasoned Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys can assess your case, inform you about your alternative sentencing options, and help determine your eligibility. We're proud to serve clients across Tulsa, Oklahoma, and surrounding areas throughout the Tulsa metro area, including Creek County, Rogers County, and the Creek and Cherokee Nations. 

Understanding Alternative Sentencing

Alternative sentencing is various kinds of penalties or punishment that a criminal court can impose on a convicted defendant as a substitute for a prison sentence, jail time, or the death penalty. The main aim of alternative sentencing is to penalize the defendant properly and encourage rehabilitation. 

What Are the Benefits of Alternative Sentencing?

Alternative sentencing offers the following benefits:  

  • Helps the defendant to avoid the negative effects of institutionalization.  

  • Teaches the defendant vital life skills and lessons.  

  • Prevents possible risks of recidivism.  

  • Improves the likelihood of successful recovery.  

  • Mitigates the adverse consequences of imprisonment on the offender's mental and physical health.  

  • Ensures that spaces in prisons and county jails are utilized efficiently.  

  • Reduces the community cost of running jails and prisons, thereby saving taxpayers' money.  

  • Also, defendants will have better access to safe addiction treatment, professional counseling, and support during their rehabilitation period.  

What's more, as an alternative to imprisonment, the Oklahoma criminal court may sentence the offender to a diversion program, house arrest, probation, or community service. A dedicated lawyer can examine your case details and fully explain your sentencing alternatives. 

Types of Alternative Sentencing

However, eligibility for sentencing alternatives in Oklahoma depends on the defendant's criminal history, the severity, and the nature of the crime committed. Below are some of the most common sentencing alternatives in Oklahoma: 

Court Diversion Programs

In Oklahoma, court diversion programs offer alternative ways to reform defendants without imposing fines or sending them to jail. Generally, it involves diverting their cases out of the criminal court system. Some available court diversion programs in Oklahoma include:  

  • DUI and Drug Court  

  • Female Diversion Program  

  • OKC Community Sentencing  

  • Veteran's Treatment Court  

  • Re-Merge (for mothers and pregnant women)  

  • Misdemeanor Diversion Program  

  • Mental Health Court  

Defendants that are eligible for the diversion program will sign an agreement detailing what to do or avoid doing for the charges to be dropped. On successful completion of the program, the charges will be dropped, and the defendant's criminal record and name will be cleared. 

Community Service

Furthermore, community service or "Community Sentencing" may be ordered by the court as an alternative to going to jail. The purpose of community service is to allow the defendant to perform voluntary work that will benefit the community affected by their unlawful actions. Some common examples of court-ordered community sentencing include:  

  • Working at a public agency, nonprofit, or charity organization. 

  • Paying restitution to the victim or injured party.  

  • Speaking about the consequence of breaking the law at a school or event.  

  • Performing voluntary or unpaid work within the local community.  

  • Counseling other substance abusers or drug users. 

House Arrest

Additionally, the Oklahoma court may order a house arrest as an alternative to incarceration if the judge believes that placing the offender within their immediate community will assist with their rehabilitation. To be eligible for house arrest, the defendant must:  

  • Be convicted for a nonviolent crime.  

  • Have served at least 15% of their sentence.  

In addition, the defendant under house arrest will wear an ankle bracelet or electronic monitoring device. The device will continuously transmit signals to a central monitoring system. The probation department will receive an alert whenever the defendant goes outside the allowable range. 


Probation is another alternative sentencing that allows the defendant to serve their sentence within the community while under supervision. The probationer must adhere to the terms and conditions of their probation. The defendant must also report to an assigned probation officer and submit a complete and accurate written report every month. Violating any terms of your probation may cause your probation to be revoked, and you could be sent to jail. 

However, several other alternative sentencing options are available to offenders in Oklahoma. A strategic criminal defense lawyer can explain the details and help you decide the ideal alternative to incarceration that best fits your unique situation. 

Take Your Future in Your Hands

A criminal conviction or record in Oklahoma can jeopardize your liberty, quality of life, personal reputation, and future. Thankfully, alternative sentencing allows you to avoid incarceration and, in some cases, a criminal record. At Military Law Group, we enjoy protecting individuals facing criminal charges from suffering the worst possible punishments. 

We have the resources to determine your available alternatives to jail and whether you are eligible. With our broad understanding of the Oklahoma Sentencing guidelines, our reliable team will represent you aggressively yet diligently at every phase of the legal process. We will fight on your side and help you achieve the most favorable outcome in your case.  

Contact us at Military Law Group today to schedule a simple case assessment with dependable criminal defense lawyers. Our highly-skilled attorneys have the trusted legal counsel and representation you need to negotiate the best available sentencing alternative. We proudly serve clients across Tulsa, Oklahoma, and surrounding areas throughout the Tulsa metro area, including Creek County, Rogers County, and the Creek and Cherokee Nations.