Do I have to go to jail?

No.

 

Historically jail was the only sentence a court could impose.

 

Most states have created many alternative sentencing options.

 

Now there are mental health courts and mental health probation for people who suffer from mental diseases or disorders. Drug Courts exist to offer intervention programs with drug therapy for substance abusers.

 

A good lawyer can fashion many alternatives to jail or prison if your jurisdiction offers them.

 

Since the 1980’s the U.S. federal system has used sentencing guidelines. Many states have created their own punishment code/sentencing guidelines. Sentencing guidelines are arithmetical formulas which determine the length of the sentence. If you score below the minimum prison sentence required by law you may be able to avail yourself of the many alternative sentences outlined above.