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Fairfax Criminal Defense Blog

ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING IN VIRGINIA

Posted by John A. Kassabian | Oct 26, 2022

There is not always a straight line between being arrested and sentenced. A number of possibilities exist within the Commonwealth of Virginia for sentencing, which include alternative sanctions and accord and satisfaction. The severity of the crime is considered, as well as the impact on the victim in each case. But the bottom line is, you may not wind up with jail time or you may even have your case dismissed!

To take advantage of the possibilities that exist within the legal and social services sectors, it's imperative that you have an excellent criminal lawyer, like John Kassabian of Kassabian & Kassabian, P.L.C., in Fairfax, VA. See how you might avoid traditional sentencing by arranging a free consultation.

WHAT IS ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING?

Simply put, alternative sentencing is used in cases where nonviolent offenders who have committed misdemeanors are allowed to perform community service through the OAR Alternative Sentencing Program. A nonprofit in Virginia, OAR stands for “Opportunities, Alternatives, and Resources for persons involved with the criminal justice system.” One example is the Violence Intervention program that aims to reduce domestic violence.

OAR reentry programs also help people who have been incarcerated in their transition back into the community, with the goal of helping people to avoid recidivism and establish self-sufficiency.

There are, of course, other alternative sentencing options unconnected with OAR, including Electronic Home Incarceration Programs (referred to colloquially as “house arrest”) and the “Weekender Program,” which allows offenders to serve their jailtime on the weekends and keep their jobs.

Each of these alternative sentencing programs are associated with specific offenses and require different fees. Those in the programs must comply with the rules or risk losing the privileges associated with the programs. For example, OAR noncompliance could result in the offender's removal from the program. Then, the offender usually has to serve a traditional jail sentence.

ACCORD AND SATISFACTION, VIRGINIA STATUTE

“Accord and satisfaction” refers to Virginia code that allows defendants to work with victims to settle their dispute outside of criminal courts. “Accord” in this case means agreement and “satisfaction” means the result. Satisfaction can mean many different things depending on the details of the case. Let's say the defendant defrauded the victim of money; the return of that money may act as satisfaction.

Accord and satisfaction is only considered if the crime in question is a misdemeanor AND if there is a civil component to the case. The victims must, of course, also be amenable to the process.

Often, those defending a charge relating to a crime of violence can work with the victim and the courts to come to an agreement, such as counseling or rehabilitative treatment for substance abuse. In these cases, it's absolutely essential that defendants have a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney to walk them through the process.

Accord and satisfaction could very well result in the charge being dismissed, and the offender could be eligible for expungement of the crime from their record.

ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING HELPS OFFENDERS

John Kassabian understands that jail time can seriously disrupt someone's life. That's why he works with his clients to explore all of the alternatives that could apply to each of their individual cases. Get in touch now to find out how he can help you.

About the Author

John A. Kassabian

John A. Kassabian joined the family firm in 2002 after having served as a Prosecutor in Fairfax County and Prince William County. Specializing in criminal defense, traffic defense and civil related matters, John has an extensive criminal law background and has handled a wide variety of cases for ...

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