After you've been found guilty of a crime, the judge will set a date for sentencing.  At a sentencing hearing, the judge will hand down his or her ruling on how long you have to stay in jail.  As mentioned on our presentencing page, we recommend hiring an attorney to get you through the sentencing process.

An attorney can examine your case and decide whether it's in your best interests to wait for trial.  Your attorney can tell you whether you'll get any benefit from taking a plea bargain, for example.  The county prosecutors are very busy, and preparing for and attending court can be time-consuming and expensive.  They may be able to work out a deal with your attorney in exchange for not having to deal with court, such as a reduced sentence or a lesser charge.

In many cases, you may be able to avoid serving time in Orange County jail.  With your attorney's help, you may qualify for a work furlough program, farm, community service or house arrest in place of a jail sentence.  For offenses involving drugs or alcohol, your sentence may also be suspended in place of treatment and rehabilitation for substance abuse.  Since Orange County jails are overcrowded, the prosecution may be more willing to agree to such options than you'd think. 

Even if you are denied alternative sentencing, you will often be able to reduce the time served on your sentence by exhibiting good behavior.