The jail population has exploded particularly in California where the governor and the legislature have worked together to approve various ballot measures and authorize new programs to rehabilitate prisoners verses building expensive new jail facilities.

Therefore, the courts and even the prosecutors have become more receptive to alternatives to incarceration. The recent Realignment Act and subsequent more liberal ballot measures has opened up the flood gates for more and more alternatives to jail, especially in the more liberal North County area, but there are still pockets of resistance.

As long as a criminal charge does not have a mandatory sentence required by the law, judges have some discretion to utilize the following jail alternatives, listed below. However, it is still vitally important that your criminal defense attorney zealously advocate a suitable JAIL ALTERNATIVE for you.

Since 1992 the knowledgeable and highly skilled attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC since 1992 has made it a hallmark of their practice to use all means possible to secure a sentencing agreement that includes an alternative to jail or prison whenever possible.

This is especially important in cases involving less serious criminal charges and crimes that do not involve serious bodily injury or violence. If a defendant is convicted at their trial, it is just as important for defense counsel or his/her attorney to reach a sentencing agreement with the district attorney or prosecutor or to persuade the judge to use his/her discretion to impose any number of the below mentioned jail alternatives—and NOT JAIL!

Sonoma County Jail Alternatives


  1. Community Accountability Diversion (CAD)—This PRE-FILLING Diversion Program is also referred to as Penal code Section 1000 Diversion which is a state approved program for adult misdemeanor and felony narcotic offenders that takes the place of traditional court proceedings. Not everyone is eligible so it is best to consult with a qualified and knowledgeable alternative to jail lawyer who will have your best interest in mind. Generally, the program allows specific first-time drug offenders to participate in drug treatment.
  2. Community Accountability Diversion (CAD)—This POST-FILING Diversion Program which is authorized under CA Penal Code Section 1001.1 allows for the postponement of criminal prosecution for certain specified misdemeanors. It is advisable for you to consult with a qualified and knowledgeable alternative to jail lawyer who will have your best interest in mind.
  1. Specialized course work including but not limited to Theft Awareness or Alive at 25, AA meetings with a sponsor and other court approved programs and special courses or classes that your skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can convince the judge and DA would be more suitable than jail.
  2. Civil Compromise and payment of restitution to the victim—In non-violent types of cases where money damages are most likely to make the victim whole your attorney could convince the prosecutor and the court to allow for what is known as a Civil Compromise. Ask your qualified and knowledgeable jail alternative lawyer who will have your best interest in mind.
  1. Continuous Alcohol Monitoring (CAM) Bracelet— Our Law Firm convinces the Court that you would be better off with ones of these constant monitoring bracelets rather than spending time in jail where you would lose your job, home and possibly your family. Our Law Firm has a good working relationship of LCA the company that privately screens and monitors the devises and Make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable and highly skilled criminal defense attorneys—the consultation is FREE—707-571-8600.
  1. Global Positioning System (GPS)–This Device is a space-based navigation system that provides location and time information The court and probation feels more secure if you, the defendant; agrees to a tracking device so that your whereabouts can be monitored continuously while you are on probation, supervised probation or awaiting sentencing—It is preferable to spending time in jail away from family and your job.
  2. Community Service Hours instead of jail and sometimes instead of County Work Release—Many times our skilled and knowledgeable jail alternative lawyers have successfully persuaded the Judge to allow our criminal defendant clients to complete volunteer or community service hours instead of JAIL and or Work Release—Medical and other conditions and or disabilities need to be carefully documented before this more desirable jail alternative will be allowed. Make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable and highly skilled criminal defense attorneys—the consultation is FREE.
  3. Work Release also known as County Work Release—For only certain criminal defense convictions your criminal defense attorney should be able to convince the judge that this alternative is most suitable to your particular circumstances since otherwise you would lose your job or there may be other compelling reasons for this jail alternative request. Make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable and highly skilled criminal defense attorneys—the consultation is FREE–707-571-8600.
  1. Outpatient drug and or alcohol rehabilitation—Our law firm excels in getting our clients into programs that work and end the cycle of recidivism. We are thoroughly familiar and knowledgeable about many of the programs that Judges favor over jail for certain crimes and some of them are:

-Kaiser Permanente Intensive Outpatient Program with its aftercare component

-Drug Abuse Alternatives Center (DAAC) “turning lives around…since 1969.

  1. Inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation and treatmentFiumara & Milligan Law, PC has worked with many of these programs since 1992. A great example is: Ohlhoff Recovery Programs—Men’s Residential Program—One of this firm’s greatest successes was to get a 20 year old convicted arsonist into this program who was FACING 7 YEARS IN STATE PRISON—instead this jail alternative turned his life around and he only served a few months in County Jail and paid a very reduced RESTITUTION to the victim.

Women’s Recovery—The California Human Development (CHD) organization has been helping Sonoma County criminal defendants with effective residential treatment for almost 40 years. Judges and prosecutors have been open minded to grant day for day jail credit for enrollment into at STONEHOUSE, residential recovery—a 40 bed comprehensive intensive residential treatment program from 30 days to 12 months with 26 weeks of free aftercare.

Make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable and highly skilled criminal defense attorneys—the consultation is FREE.

Oftentimes we are successful to get DAY for DAY credit for one of these alternatives to jail treatment centers for our clients.

  1. Inpatient psychiatric treatment or counseling—There are jail alternatives that await every type of criminal defendant if the circumstances and facts fit the case. Every criminal defendant deserves an opportunity to be considered for jail alternatives if possible. Make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable and highly skilled criminal defense attorneys—the consultation is FREE.
  2. A combination of some or all of the above mentioned options and alternatives to jail can be piggybacked upon one another by your highly skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to get you the best jail alternative to JAIL or PRISON for time served. Why wait for the answer, the call is FREE—707-571-8600 and you may have to serve less real jail time than previously thought!



Courts are more likely to impose sentences consisting of fines, restitution, civil compromise, and community service hours for lower level misdemeanor offenses that do not involve violence such as trespassing, loitering, disorderly conduct, and simple battery as an alternative to jail.

Even though domestic violence can be charged as a misdemeanor, it is often excluded under this category; however, there are options available for those convicted of domestic violence that include a 52 week batterers program and various other jail alternatives in lieu of jail.

For further information on the Domestic Violence Court Alternative to Jail see below under Roman Numeral IV.

Restitution: The judge has the ability to sentence a criminal defendant to pay a fine, pay restitution to the victim and the victim’s family and/or perform a certain number of community service hours in any combination that is agreed upon.

Restitution translates into the payment that is made from the offender to the victim for any financial losses that were sustained as a result of the criminal act by the defendant. The restitution would include the cost of replacing personal property, medical care or expenses or counseling costs, and lost wages from missed work due to the injuries.


A judge has the discretion to sentence a defendant to either unsupervised or supervised probation as an alternative to jail or prison. This can involve a deferred or suspended sentence. These sentences are optional in misdemeanor and felony cases alike. If a sentence is suspended, the judge sentences the offender to a period of incarceration, however, he/she suspends that sentence (or a portion of it) as long as the offender successfully completes all the terms and conditions of his/her probation.

Unfortunately at the end of the defendant’s probationary period even if the defendant successfully completes the suspended sentence, the defendant will have a criminal conviction on his/her record. If the defendant violates the terms of probation, the judge can order the offender to serve part of, or all of the remaining sentence in jail or prison.

Please call our office at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. “The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference.”


A deferred entry of judgment sentence is one in which the court will delay or defer the sentencing of the defendant until the defendant has had an opportunity to complete probation. If the defendant successfully completes all the terms and conditions of his or her probation, the case will be dismissed. Afterwards, the defendant will have no criminal conviction on his/her record for that case.

The same is true of many of the local diversion programs that your criminal defense attorney should be familiar with for your type of case. In some counties there is a community alternative diversion program or other diversion programs which translates into a complete dismissal upon the defendant’s successful completion of all terms and conditions of that particular program.

Once the program is successfully completed, the charges are dismissed and there is no record except the arrest record.

Please call our office at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. “The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference.”


Juvenile Defenders are offered the same kind of treatment and dismissal of all charges as in the adult court above. But in the case of juvenile justice, the aim is to rehabilitate so upon successful completion of a probationary term—anywhere from one to three years, the entire juvenile record is automatically sealed and expunged.

Deferred Judgment in Juvenile Court where the minor has not been convicted. If the charged minor follows all of the court imposed and conditions of their probation—which can include wearing electronic tracking bracelets, following curfews, attending probation recommending sex, drug or alcohol counseling, and other restrictions, the charges will be dismissed and their criminal records automatically expunged!

You may contact our skilled and knowledgeable attorneys on any number of juvenile jail alternatives such as: Social Advocates for Youth, (SAY), Probation Camp and so many other wrap around services and counseling. INFORMAL PROBATION IS ANOTHER JUVENILE JAIL ALTERNATIVE FOR MANY FIRST TIME OFFENDERS—Speak to us for more information at 707-571-8600.

For additional information regarding the types of jail alternatives that are available to juvenile offenders.


The court has the option of placing you on supervised or unsupervised probation and they both mean different things. Unsupervised court probation is usually a general mandate to the offender that they must obey all laws and lead a law abiding lifestyle.

These imposed terms and conditions usually include no new arrests, do not violate the terms of your probation, no drugs or alcohol, you can’t be in a place where alcohol is the primary item sold, and there may also be a requirement not to leave the state or the particular county where the conviction occurred.

The defendant will be expected to abide by all terms and conditions without being required to report to a probation officer, that is why it is called unsupervised probation. Unsupervised probation is usually offered in lower, less serious misdemeanor cases and especially for those criminal defendants who have no criminal history.

Please call our office at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. “The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference.”


To the contrary, supervised probation is much stricter. The court will order supervised probation in cases where the charges are much more serious including some element of violence or drug sales, domestic violence and the like.

The defendant here will be required to comply with terms of supervised probation that include but are not limited to reporting to a probation officer as directed, submitting to random alcohol and drug testing, complying with a mandated curfew, the requirement of no new arrests, maintain employment or enroll in school, no weapons possession, no association with known gang members or criminals or other felons, and the possibility of mental health or controlled substance counseling.

Supervised probation for juveniles can be very long listed to include such things as what to wear, who not to associate with including but not limited to known gang members, conditions relating to grades, truancy and attendance at local schools or other institutions of higher education. Juvenile supervised probation can be extremely strict and if compliance is not met, community detention with a GPS bracelet could be imposed and worse, incarceration at the local juvenile detention facility.

Please call our office at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. “The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference.”


If a person on probation, whether it is supervised or unsupervised, violates the terms and/or conditions of their probation, the court may revoke that probation and require the defendant to serve out the rest of the sentence in jail or prison. Your defense attorney should immediately work with the prosecutor, probation, and the judge to negotiate a global settlement to reach an agreement and revocation on the remaining sentence.

If it is a technical violation or a minor violation, i.e., one missed counseling session or a late check-in with a probation officer, the court might impose a short five day jail sentence and then reinstate probation, but there are different variations to this rule and it depends on the circumstances.

However, if the violation is more serious, for example, the defendant had been arrested for a serious crime or received numerous violations of probation including not signing up for the mandated treatment or counseling, failed one or more drug tests or associated with a known drug felon or gang member, the defendant will more than likely have to serve a great deal more time if not the remainder of his/her sentence in jail or prison.

Please call our office at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. “The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference.”


House arrest is a very broad concept involving many different forms of electronic confinement. House arrest is a very new and emerging alternative to jail available to only some offenders. This option allows the offender to serve a jail or prison sentence living at home with an electronic monitoring device or bracelet. Oftentimes, this involves a permanent residence with a phone or a land line but that is becoming obsolete with all of the new technology and gadgets including GPS and the like.

The most common form of house arrest involves the defendant having to wear a monitoring device on his/her ankle known as an ankle bracelet. This device could be connected wirelessly to a monitoring center which is programmed to alert the probation officer or law enforcement if the defendant ventures outside of a permissible zone.

The defendant is often allowed to move in the area of their home and sometimes an area outside the home including the mailbox or to perform other vital activities around the home. If the defendant is employed, the device can be programmed to allow him/her to travel to and from work between only certain hours of the day. Thereafter, a curfew is strictly imposed.

Just like probation, if the offender violates any rules of house arrest or the terms and conditions of the electronic confinement agreement, and there are so many private electronic confinement programs being used by the courts, the court can revoke all sentencing alternatives and order the offender to serve the remainder of his/her sentence in jail or prison.

It is, therefore, incumbent upon the criminal defendant to understand all the terms and conditions and shortcomings of the device which they will be wearing, downloading, and living with for the remainder of their criminal sentence.

Please call our office at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. “The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference.”


There have been many courts that have been set up to permit criminal defendants with drug, alcohol, and/or psychological problems including sex offenders to serve a portion of their jail sentence or their entire jail or prison sentence in rehabilitation or treatment programs. The same is true for FACT, a forensic mental health court for those who are afflicted with severe mental health issues in Santa Rosa. For additional FACT COURT information, see 1V (1) below.

Another Specialized Jail Alternative Court is ‘Veterans Court.’ For additional VETERAN’S COURT information, see 1V (4) below.

The programs most likely to be approved by a judge or district attorney as a sentencing alternative are residential and long-term drug and alcohol programs with a minimum of 30 days up to, including 1-2 years including aftercare.

Another type of alternative to jail involves the defendant’s willingness to participate in any form of self-help. Our criminal defense attorney recommend that our clients start attending AA meetings and get a sponsor. The Santa Rosa Treatment Program (SRTP), or methadone clinic is another option. Many half way houses that are sponsored by churches and nonprofits are an alternative to the very expensive privately operated treatment facilities.

This includes the Salvation Army which has a program, Vincent St. Paul and Catholic Charities that works with the elderly who may have become habitual offenders because of dementia or some other cognitive impairment. In most cases, the participants live onsite, participate in intensive counseling and look for employment or enroll in education institutions if and when they are permitted to leave the facility.

The level of supervision varies from each program and depends upon the program mandates. It is best to call our experienced team of jail alternative attorneys to find out the details of each program.

Please call our office at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. “The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference.”

Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC are very familiar with most of the private programs that exist in the Greater North Bay including but not limited to Duffy’s, and the Ohlhoff Recovery Program—Men’s Residential Program, DAAC the Drug and Alcohol Alternative Center, and many other facilities that our clients have successfully completed and who have received day-for-day credit toward their imposed or suspended jail sentence.

You need to ask your criminal defense attorney which program is most suitable for your particular needs in your particular case. http://www.fiumara.com/santa-rosa/alternatives-to-jail-or-special-courts

In inpatient rehabilitation or treatment, the defendant must remain in the program and comply with all of the terms and conditions in order to get day-for-day credit from the court. This is the same as with probation but if a defendant leaves the program or does not completely satisfy the terms and conditions the court may revoke the alternative jail sentence and immediately remand the defendant to jail or prison.


Many defendants sentenced to serve time in the county jail may have some other options that criminal defense attorney will persuade the court to invoke instead of jail. A judge will often order county work release which allows the defendant to work an eight hour day for county public works. This eight hour day will count for one day if jail sentenced.

Defendants often request these alternatives in order to avoid losing their job because they can serve the alternative jail sentence by working for the county during the weekends, on holidays, and time that does not conflict with their work schedule. This jail alternative is more likely than not to be available to offenders with minimal criminal records or history and who are not considered violent or a flight risk.

Work Furlough–Many counties offer what is known as work furlough. This is somewhat different than strict county work release. Under this program, during the daytime the defendant goes to work just like any other ordinary worker or employer, but at night at 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. the defendant must turn themselves into the county jail and serve their jail sentence overnight night. The defendant will be released early in the morning to go to work and, again, they must return after work hours to the county jail.

To accelerate this process many participates in the work furlough program will turn themselves into the jails during weekends and holidays to speed up the process. In those cases, they may receive time or time and a half for their jail time, but that depends upon the program and the counties that administer these programs and not every county has a work furlough program since it is time consuming and administratively costly. The Work Furlough Program is no longer available in Sonoma County.


  1. FACT COURT— FACT court or mental health related forensic courts for those that have such mental health issues that the court has provided wraparound services for criminal defendants to complete before their charges are dismissed. These mental health courts similar to drug courts are the kinds of alternatives to jail that you should ask your attorney to explain since not every county offers these great alternatives to jail and/or prison. Drug and DUI courts have mushroomed and sprung up now in almost every county and they all have different rules, regulations, and different judges assigned to them so you need to ask your criminal defense attorney what is your best option.

Sonoma County Mental Health Court

Better Known As The Forensic Assertive Community Treatment Team Or FACT Court

Sonoma County’s mentally ill offender crime reduction program includes clinical and financial standards that determine the criteria for placement into the program, which are quite stringent. However, we have been successful in getting several of our clients qualified so they can participate and benefit from this alternative to jail court setting. Please call any one of our offices for information on the admission criteria, the residency requirements and the numerous requirements, which make individuals eligible for team participation in this program.

Please call our office at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. “The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference.”


DUI or driving while under the influence is still a very serious crime in most jurisdictions. However, more and more the courts are treating alcohol related crimes as a health concern rather than just a strict criminal, throw you in jail, type of offense.

DUI Court is modeled after Sonoma County’s successful Drug Court program. DUI Court is a collaboration of several agencies including the Sonoma County Superior Court, the probation department, the county health department, the public defender’s office, district attorney’s office, and the sheriff’s department. The program participants will not only be given professional help in confronting substance abuse issues, but the program will also facilitate life changing improvements that will help reduce DUI recidivism.

What is the process for clients facing multiple DUI’s?

  1. The defendant will be arrested and cited by local law enforcement.
  2. The district attorney’s office reviews the defendant for eligibility for DUI Court.
  3. There is an arraignment and misdemeanor court.
  4. If the criminal defendant is interested in the DUI Court program, the case is set for a settlement conference. The criminal defense attorney has the duty to advise this client of his/her legal rights and describes the DUI program. If the criminal defendant agrees to participate, a guilty plea is entered in the misdemeanor courtroom.
  5. The case is referred to the next DUI Court session.
  6. The defendant makes first DUI Court appearance and observes the court session
  7. Each eligible candidate is interviewed and assessed by alcohol and other drug services commonly referred to as “AODS” before the next DUI Court session.
  8. The DUI team of professionals and collaborators reviews the case and makes a recommendation whether to accept the defendant into the program before the next DUI Court session.
  9. The offender/defendant agrees to DUI Court terms and conditions and is, hence, accepted into the program. The jail sentence will be stayed pending the successful completion of the program. The jail sentence may be reduced by program participation credit and may be served by electronic monitoring, so there may be no jail based upon the treatment and hard work of the defendant.
  10. The criminal defendant/offender will work through the minimum twelve month ,four-phase program which includes regular visits to the probation office, individual and group counseling sessions, frequent court appearances, frequent alcohol testing, monitoring, and self-help meetings. In addition, probation may recommend other programs and requirements that may be necessary depending on the offender’s individual circumstances medical and DUI history.

This is just a summary of some of the steps that are expected of the defendant who accepts this specialized DUI Court which serves as an alternative to jail and serves to improve the life of the drug or alcohol abuser.

There Are Many Eligibility Requirements:

  1. The applicant must be charged with a second or third time misdemeanor DUI offense in order to qualify.
  2. The charged offense can’t be a felony or serious injury.
  3. Applicant’s current case must originate in the Sonoma County jurisdiction for the Sonoma County DUI Court to take the case.
  4. The defendant/offender must not have any convictions for serious felonies, strikes, drug sales or sexual or violent crimes.
  5. The defendant/offender must be a Sonoma County resident.
  6. Applicant must not be on parole supervision.
  7. The defendant/offender must acknowledge a substance abuse problem.

These are just some of the parameters. You are encouraged to contact one of our knowledgeable and highly skilled criminal defense attorneys for a free and confidential consultation and case evaluation to see whether or not you qualify for this specialized court which serves as an alternative to jail and in this case serves to reduce DUI recidivism and foster a healthier and safer life for the participants and their families by increasing treatment, supervision, and accountability for the high-risk impaired driver.

Please call our office at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. “The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference.”


Most counties have a variation of Domestic Violence Court as an alternative to straight jail time for domestic violence charges. Most of the misdemeanor domestic violence charges are punishable by up to one year in the county jail. Some of the more serious domestic violence charges are punishable as felonies in the state prison. However, we successfully convinced the courts and prosecuting district attorneys that jail time should be suspended if a client pleads to the charges and is allowed to be placed on probation. A guilty plea has numerous terms and conditions imposed per Penal Code section 1203.097; some of the most important ones are:

  • 36 months of formal probation (but that can be shortened with assistance from one of our attorneys)
  • You must complete 52 weeks of a batterers’ counseling program that you must pay for yourself
  • You must maintain contact with and complete monthly progress reports to county probation
  • You must abstain from the use of alcohol and drugs and submit to chemical testing

However, our attorneys have been successful in getting this condition stricken if drugs and alcohol were not used during the commission of the crime

  • Complete 20 or more hours of community service
  • Pay fines and fees
  • Pay restitution if it applies, but this is subject to a hearing
  • Return frequently to court for reviews and updates with or without your probation officer

We would be happy to fully explain all of the terms and conditions of probation, so please contact us—707-571-8600. We recommend that you seek legal advice before deciding to accept the above terms and conditions, since most domestic violence cases are defensible. We have recently had several Jury acquittals in Marin and Sonoma County Superior Court, so our clients did not have to participate in the above-mentioned programs and they have no criminal record.


Out of the 58 counties in California, only 24 of these types of Veteran Alternative to Jail Courts are operating for the benefit of veterans . Sonoma and Marin Counties happen to be two counties that have embraced this jail alternative and treatment court for veterans.

Incarcerated veterans are at a much greater risk than the general veteran population for committing suicide.

Why Are Veterans Treatment Courts Needed?

Many soldiers that return from combat are traumatized.

  • PTSD, TBI, depression and other trauma related to military service
  • Need for medical health therapy and treatment.

Veterans, However, Often Deny These Problems

  • Untreated, they get much worse.
  • Sometimes this situation leads to crime.

Veterans Treatment Court is the Mechanism to Turn Veterans lives around Who Have Served This Country

  • Address underlying mental health issues.
  • Issue: Participation is voluntary, so incentives are needed.


  • Collaborative team model.
  • Hybrid of drug court and mental health court.
  • Provide treatment in lieu of jail and/or prison.
  • Judicial monitoring for 12 to 6 months.
  • Integrated alcohol and drug treatment.
  • Abstinence monitored via frequent testing.
  • Graduated system of incentives and sanctions.
  • Guide participants’ compliance and VTC response.
  • Peer mentors ensure cooperation of participants.
  • Differentiating characteristic of VTC.

Our experienced and highly skilled attorneys ask every client whether they served in the military or is a veteran.

– What happens next?

  • A screening by the VA Health Services (VJO) for eligibility for health services.
  • Statutory probation eligibility required.
  • Negotiate disposition in the trial court, not in VTC.
  • Then sentencing with an Arbuckle Waiver in VTC.


Answer: There are three statutory veteran’s provisions; they are:

  1. Penal Code Section 1001.80— Military Diversion Program. This chapter applies whenever a case is before a court on an accusatory pleading alleging the commission of a misdemeanor
  2. Penal Code Section 1170.9–Alternate Commitment for Combat Veterans or referred to as Veterans Alternative Sentencing and Restorative Relief. In the case of any person convicted of a criminal offense who could otherwise be sentenced to county jail or state prison means that this section applies to both misdemeanors and felonies.
  3. Penal Code Section 1170.91–referred to as “Sentencing Mitigation”, Penal Code Section 1170.91 provides a mitigating factor in felony sentencing whereby the court shall consider the circumstances from which the defendant may be suffering as a result of military service, as a factor in mitigation during felony sentencing.

Please call our office at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. “The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference.”

It is incumbent upon you to ask your criminal defense attorney to fully explain the key differences between the three penal code sections cited above so that you may better understand your options as a Veteran..

For example, Penal Code Section 1001.80 applies to misdemeanors only and not to felonies. This program is only permissible if the veteran defendant can be sentenced to diversion. There is also a waiver to the right to a speedy trial and satisfactory performance in the program is required to get all the benefits of a true diversion.

The participant in this program, the effected veteran, is treated for up to two years and in Sonoma County under Penal Code Section 1001.80 diversion will be managed by the VTC. The defendant will have routine reports and reviews with the court.

Under California Penal Code Section 1170.9, also referred to as the Veterans Sentencing Alternative, it applies to misdemeanors or felonies and the participating veteran must suffer from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems stemming from service in the United States military under Penal Code Section 1170.9.

Further, the crime must be alleged to have been committed as a result of the above mentioned service-related problem. Finally, there is a requirement that there be a nexus established between the service related disability and the current offense or offenses. Under the Veterans Diversion statutory scheme under California Penal Code Section 1001.80, no nexus is required between the service related condition and the crime.

There are differences and the outcome can be different so it is important that you hire a knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense attorney in all cases where you are eligible for these kinds of special jail alternative courts.


Please see Press Democrat Link for some information, but call our Law office to get additional facts on this relatively new Specialized Court:



These are just some of the many jail alternatives that are available to criminal defendants. Hence, you should consult an attorney. A skilled and knowledgeable attorney such as those who are part of the team at Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC will assist you in addressing your sentencing options if you are convicted or you decide to plead guilty to a crime.

Please feel free to contact an attorney as soon as you learn that you have been charged with any crime or criminal offense so that you will receive the representation that you need throughout the entire criminal process that will guarantee you a good shot at a meaningful alternative to jail or prison. See also our other jail alternative website

Supervised Own Recognizance (SOR):

In certain circumstances, individuals facing new criminal charges may be released from custody in lieu of posting bail, but only by agreeing to follow specific conditions ordered by the Court and monitored by Probation. Persons on SOR receive intensive levels of supervision by Probation and are quickly returned to Court when choosing not to adhere to the agreed upon conditions of release or when continuing to engage in criminal conduct.

Conversely, individuals on SOR may immediately return to employment allowing them to maintain the livelihood necessary to meet housing, food and living expenses. Further, at this stage, individuals are also directed toward treatment services specific to their situations so they may begin to address the issues which have contributed to their current legal predicaments.

Work Release:

For individuals who are sentenced following a criminal conviction, many may be eligible to participate in this program which is operated by Probation. When referred by the Court, persons receiving jail commitments of up to 90 days may serve these sentences by working in the community on projects which serve the public good.

Work Release is a particularly effective and successful program in that individuals meet the obligation of jail time by working off their jail commitments while also keeping intact their families and their personal livelihoods. Thousands of persons successfully participate in this program each year serving hundreds of organizations in our community.

Supervised Electronic Confinement (SEC):

Available as a jail alternative, the Court authorizes eligible individuals to serve jail commitments of up to one year on home confinement while being monitored by Probation. This highly structured program allows individuals who are appropriate for release to remain in the community, including those who may have significant employment obligations, critical family care issues, medical complications, educational commitments or complicating issues which would otherwise lead to excessive hardships if the individual were required to serve the commitment in jail custody.

SEC allows for persons to maintain stable living situations, retain employment and meet financial obligations which increase the opportunity for success on probation and in the community.

County Parole:

Through this program, Probation works with individuals who have appeared before the County Parole Board and have been granted an early release from county jail custody based on good conduct and participation in rehabilitative programs offered in custody.

Probation supports their reintegration into the community through structure including required conditions designed to aid in their success. These conditions include abstinence from drug/alcohol use, participation in appropriate treatment, involvement in work/education and other related requirements.