Alternative sentencing means something other than jail time. Very often, cases are settled for punishments which avoid jail, such as community service, Cal Trans, graffiti removal, rehabilitation classes, counseling and drug programs, etc.
Probation means serving an amount of county jail time, if any at all, less than the maximum allowed by law, and complying with court orders for a period which often varies from 12 months to 60 months, depending on the charges. During the probationary period, you must comply with the Court’s orders or else you could be sentenced on a “probation violation” of up to the maximum for the charges you’re on probation for. At the end of the probationary period, your case is over and you are not subject to a probation violation.
An expungement allows you to have a misdemeanor erased from your criminal record. It enables you to deny ever being convicted of the charge if asked in an employment application, etc., with certain restrictions.
Prop 36 is a mandated program whereby if you are convicted of certain drug offenses and fit the criteria for being eligible for prop 36 sentencing, you must be offered the option of going into a drug program which could result in your case being dismissed if you succeed in the program, rather than suffering a criminal conviction and/or jail or prison time for the crime.
Three Strikes is a sentencing enhancement which says that if you suffered a prior conviction for a certain serious or violent felony, the sentence on the next case could be doubled (if you have one prior ‘strike’ offense), or you could be exposed to prison for 25 years to life if you suffered two or more prior “strikes” and are now charged with a felony.
No. If you receive a call from a detective or prosecutor and are concerned that you could be investigated or exposed to criminal prosecution, call your lawyer first. Let him or her be your channel of communication during this critical time.