People charged with serious crimes can receive a felony sentence if convicted. Felony sentences are usually longer than those provided for misdemeanors. They can also involve time spent in a state correctional facility, as opposed to a county jail.
According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, there are three types of felony sentences. The type of sentence received depends on the crime committed, criminal background, and other factors surrounding the crime.
Determinate sentences involve a fixed number of years spent in jail or prison before release. Less serious crimes often receive split sentencing, meaning part of the term occurs in a county jail, while the other part occurs in county probation with supervision.
Indeterminate sentences receive a minimum term but no maximum, such as 10 years to life. Upon reaching the minimum sentence, the offender must appear before the parole board. The parole board will decide whether to release the offender or carry on the term.
Death and life without the possibility of parole sentences
Only the most serious crimes receive a death sentence or life without the possibility of parole. The offender may file an appeal, which can sometimes overturn the conviction.
Convictions for multiple crimes involve either consecutive or concurrent sentencing. Offenders serve terms back to back with consecutive sentencing. With concurrent sentencing, offenders serve terms at the same time.
There are also alternatives to felony sentences available in certain circumstances. Felony probation, which can last up to five years, requires community service and restitution. There are also collaborative courts programs, which require the offender to attend rehabilitation in lieu of jail time. Collaborative courts can also clear the conviction from a person’s criminal record.