In some cases, individuals facing criminal charges can fight to avoid jail time. Kentucky courts often order probation for individuals charged with nonviolent crimes, misdemeanors or first offenses.
This allows individuals to continue their lives while minimizing the penalties of a criminal charge. They can do this as long as they follow the rules of their probation and earn compliance credits.
What are compliance credits?
The average length of a probation sentence is four years. However, when individuals receive probation and follow the rules and guidelines, they can earn credits that apply to reduce their probation. Kentuckians earn credits by:
- Complying with their case management plan;
- Avoiding new charges or arrests; and
- Making restitution payments, if necessary.
Generally, it works like this: if individuals under supervised probation fulfill those conditions listed above for 30 days, then they can reduce their probation sentence by 30 days. If individuals comply with the rules of their probation, they can earn compliance credits and receive an early discharge.
A new law expands the options to obtain credits
Kentucky lawmakers recently passed a new law, which was signed by Gov. Beshear on March 27, that created more options for individuals to obtain credits. Now, individuals can earn compliance credits if they:
- Obtain a high school diploma or an equivalent;
- Complete a drug treatment program;
- Complete a life skills program; or
Fulfilling these programs and gaining life experience can not only reduce probation time but also help individuals get back on track for their future. Individuals who are currently on probation can benefit from these changes as well.
And once individuals successfully complete probation, they can often have the criminal charges they faced dismissed. This is why it is critical for individuals facing criminal charges, especially a first offense, to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. That way, individuals can take advantage of their options and protect their rights.