In most criminal cases, judges actually enjoy significant discretion in the type of punishment defendants receive if they're convicted of a crime. Depending on a variety of factors, a judge may determine that the circumstances of your case warrant time spent in jail or fines, but in others they may assign community service instead.
Essentially, community service means that you're required to perform services that benefit the community in exchange for a partial or total reduction in the fines or jail time you would otherwise be subject to. Minors may be more likely to get community service, under the theory that serving the community can be more beneficial in the long term.
The type of offense may be a significant factor in determining whether the judge assigns community service, but having a skilled criminal lawyer on your side who can negotiate with the prosecutor can also be significant. In pleading your case, your attorney may convince the court that performing duties that benefit the community as a whole will do a great deal more good than serving jail time, at considerably less expense.
If you've been accused of a crime, you deserve a vigorous defense from a highly skilled attorney who is committed to ensuring that your rights are protected. Visit the Law Office of Susan H. Carse online to learn more, or call (907) 222-3705 to schedule a consultation.