How Can You Avoid Jail or Prison in a Criminal Case?

Posted by Ronald D. HeddingApr 11, 2023

People's biggest fear is being taken into custody when arrested for a crime.  When it comes to jail or prison, these are the two potential options regarding your custody status.

Los Angeles Wayside Jail

Local county jail time, especially in LA County, is served in one of the three county jails:

Prison can be served in numerous locations throughout the state of California. Unfortunately, the way to avoid this is complicated. Number one, people with no criminal record and who haven't committed a violent felony have a good chance of avoiding jail. 

It's not a foregone conclusion, but with no record and have never been to jail, punishment typically seems too harsh. However, we could certainly think of circumstances where it wouldn't matter. 

For example, California Penal Code 664/187 PC attempted murder, Penal Code 187 PC murder, or any violent felony, they're not only going to want to put you in jail, but they're also going to want to put you in prison.


Another confusing thing for people is that they think that just because they throw the word probation around if they get probation, that keeps them out of custody. 

That's not true.  If you get put on felony probation, you can get anywhere from zero time in jail up to 364 days in jail, as per today's current law. 

The bottom line is that jail is always available to the prosecutors and judges in cases they believe deserve it.  I've already touched on one of the areas, which is your criminal record.

The Severity of the Crime

Another area is the type of crime you commit. Again, they will probably want jail time if it's a severe crime. 

They'll also look at whether you've ever been to jail, prison, or on probation.  So, they're looking at your track record and whatever you did in the current crime.

Submit a Mitigation Package

The next thing I would say if you wanted to avoid jail is to submit a mitigation package to the prosecution's office, and that's what I do.

How Can You Avoid Jail or Prison in a Criminal Case?

I use my 30 years of experience to figure out what makes sense in your particular circumstances to send to the prosecutor, such as the following:

  • whether you have a job,
  • no criminal record,
  • get some character letters from people who know you, your family, your friends, your pastor,
  • if you do volunteer work,
  • something from your job.

These things will help you get a probationary rather than a prison sentence and keep you out of custody.

So, we need to paint a picture of you that you don't deserve to go to jail because when you get to a point where the prosecutors believe that you deserve to go to jail, that's when you're in jeopardy of actually going into custody. Different angles can be used, but it depends on exactly what happened. 

Alternate Sentence

It's up to your attorney to think about and marshal the facts and circumstances in your favor to convince the prosecutors not to send you to jail or prison. 

Maybe come up with an alternate sentence, for example. For example, let's say somebody stole $50,00.00 and they don't want to go to jail or prison; certainly, paying the money back or paying a big chunk of the money back and arranging payment would be a good step towards making the victim whole, helping the prosecutors, and in turn, helping yourself stay out of custody.

So, if you need the best, you've come to the right place.  Let me put my years of experience to work for you.  I've worked for the district attorney's office, so I know how they view these cases; I've worked for a superior court judge, and then in the early 1990s, I started defending people just like you and keeping people out of jail and prison. Pick up the phone now.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I stand at the ready to help you. 

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