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Are There Alternatives to Going to Jail?

William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC Dec. 29, 2022

Man in prisonWhen accused of a crime, there is one question that you might keep asking yourself: “Am I going to go to jail?” It’s natural to feel unsure or even completely overwhelmed in the face of criminal charges in New Jersey. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you navigate alternatives to jail and help you take your first step forward. 

At William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC, I represent individuals and their loved ones facing criminal charges in Hackensack, Clifton, Paterson, New Jersey, and West New York. No matter what situation you are facing, I will fight for a better and safe future for you. Contact me today to schedule a free case consultation. 

Alternatives to Jail in New Jersey 

Here are some possible alternatives to jail in the state of New Jersey: 

Pretrial Intervention 

First-time non-violent offenders may be eligible for pretrial intervention. When accused of a low-degree crime, a judge can force you to essentially “work off” the charges by mandating counseling, classes, and other tactics that will help you change your ways. However, you must be accepted by the probation department and the prosecutor. Once the program is completed after a selected number of months, your charges may be dismissed. You will need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to fight for this option. 

Probation & Suspended Sentence 

A typical form of a jail or prison alternative is probation. As long as you follow the guidelines of your probation, you will not have to endure jail or prison. Some guidelines that you may have to follow include: 

  • Not breaking any laws 

  • Paying any necessary fines 

  • Abstaining from alcohol and drugs and regularly being tested 

  • Attending counseling 

  • Check-ins with your probation officer 

  • Other restrictive guidelines 

If you do not follow the instructions that you are given, a judge can activate your jail sentence and mandate you to complete it. While you may be forced to change your lifestyle, probation is a much better alternative than having to go to jail. As your criminal defense attorney, I will strive to maintain life as you know it and keep you out of jail. 


Depending on the crime that you are charged with, some judges may mandate you to pay restitution to the plaintiffs. New Jersey fines are broken up accordingly:  

  • First Degree – $200,000 

  • Second Degree – $150,000 

  • Third Degree – $15,000 

  • Fourth Degree – $10,000 

  • Disorderly Persons Offense –$1,000 

  • Petty Disorderly Persons Offense – $500 

You will need an attorney who can tell your story and seek the lowest dollar amount possible. Contact me today at William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC in Hackensack, New Jersey, and schedule a one-on-one consultation. 

Court-Ordered Programs 

  • Counseling – If your crime is correlated with a mental health issue, you may be required to complete mandated therapy sessions. Common examples of this can be crimes that stem from an addiction or vice such as DUIs, drug possession, sex crimes, and more. 

  • Drug Court – New Jersey offers a program to non-violent, first-time drug offenders. Drug Court is similar to probation in that you must adhere to the guidelines bestowed upon you. You will have to attend counseling sessions and can be drug tested at any time. The goal of Drug Court is to help those with drug addictions not fall into a habit and repeat their past mistakes. 

  • Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP) – Non-violent offenders can be sentenced to be a part of New Jersey’s Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP). SLAP is a program that forces its participants to endure manual labor for one day a week for up to 90 weeks. While participating, you may be subject to the guidelines of the county correctional facility. 

Pave the Path to a Better Future

There are many alternatives to jail in New Jersey. However, they are not obtainable without having a skilled and compassionate criminal defense attorney at your side. Whether you have been accused of a drug crime, sex crime, or DUI, I will seek a plan that will help you move forward with your life while avoiding jail time. Contact me at William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC in Hackensack, New Jersey, and schedule your free consultation. I also represent clients facing criminal charges in Clifton, Paterson, New Jersey, and West New York.