How Many Types of Criminal Sentencing Are There?

Did you know that the American criminal justice system holds over 2,300,000 people? Yet, not everyone who commits a crime goes to a detention facility, especially if the offenses are not serious or they have a clean background.

So, have you ever wondered about the possible types of sentencing in criminal law? In this post, we will look at the most common sentences judges give to convicts. So, whether you face a criminal charge yourself or just find the topic interesting, keep reading to learn more!

Discharge without Conviction

When the court discharges someone without conviction, it means they are not guilty of the crime. You may also hear this sentence called an acquittal.

Usually, a judge issues this sentence when the offense is minor and the person has no criminal record.

Conviction and Discharge

If there isn’t a minimum sentence for the crime committed, the judge may convict the offender and discharge them. Thus, the charge will go on their criminal record, but there will be no further consequence or penalty.

However, the offense would have to be minor for the conviction in itself to be a sufficient penalty.

Pay a Fine or Reparation

Another possible punishment for someone convicted of a minor crime is paying a fine. This money goes to the court and is different from reparation, which goes to the victim of the crime. Of course, the offender will need to pay both in many cases.

Community Work or Mandatory Courses

At times, judges will give offenders mandatory community service instead of jail time, especially if they are not a threat to the public. So they’ll complete a set number of hours of community service, such as collecting garbage.

But, sometimes judges will also make offenders attend a course related to their criminal charges. For instance, if they drove under the influence, they’ll have to participate in a substance abuse program.


Another standard sentencing in court is parole, which requires the convict to have regular meetings with their probation officer for a specific period.

They’ll need to inform them of personal information, such as their current address and associates. And, they have to get approval before traveling more than fifty miles from their residence.

House Arrest

House arrest is much more strict than probation since the convicted criminal cannot leave their property. In addition, they must wear an electronic device, such as an ankle monitor, to ensure they comply. Failure to do so will result in the police or parole officer being alerted, which may lead to jail time.


A criminal is issued to do jail time in the most serious offenses. However, the court will take the time they already served while awaiting trial off the determinate sentencing. Thus, they sometimes get parole after their sentence instead of going to jail.

But if the sentence is longer, they will need to continue their time in prison immediately after the trial.

Often, the convict can get shorter than average sentences for crimes with the help of an attorney. So, if you face a serious charge, look for an attorney specializing in criminal law, such as those at

Understanding the Types of Sentencing in Criminal Law

As you can see, there are many possible outcomes for criminal offenders. Yet, understanding the types of sentencing in criminal law is important for anyone and serves as a deterrent to committing a crime. So, before you think about doing something illegal, remember what you’ve learned about sentencing law!

Did this post help you learn about different types of court sentences? If so, be sure to browse more of our content that shares legal advice and information!

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