Since 1971 OAR of Fairfax County has offered Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources for persons involved with the criminal justice system. OAR's alternative sentencing program is a means for alternative sanctions in lieu of jail time for non-violent misdemeanor offenses. The program operates in cooperation with the General District Court, the Commonwealth's Attorney's office and the Office of Adult Probation and Parole.

The Alternative Sentencing Program diverts offenders away from costly incarceration, and offers a second chance to those who have committed misdemeanor offenses.

In partnership with over 700 area non-profit organizations, government agencies and businesses, OAR provides opportunities for the performance of court-ordered community service. Community service worksites include libraries, parks, schools, emergency shelters, charitable organizations and businesses.

About the Community Service Program

This program offers adults charged for the first time with various criminal offenses including, but not limited to, petit larceny, possession of marijuana, trespassing, destruction of property, DUI, and others, an opportunity to perform community service in lieu of a conviction that may include jail time and/or a fine. A preliminary record check is done for each defendant before the first court appearance to verify their eligibility for the program; OAR staff appears in court each day to interview eligible defendants and to explain the program. Participation is voluntary, but must be approved by the presiding Judge and/or Commonwealth Attorney. The typical defendant is given a deferred sentence and about 4 months to complete 50 hours of community service. Once completed, charges are dismissed. If not, jail time and/or fines will be imposed.

When an individual has been referred to OAR, staff completes a full assessment determining skills, abilities and interests to make an appropriate placement that allows the defendant to successfully complete his/her community service. Staff also assesses the need for any other services OAR provides such as clothing, transportation, employment information, and referrals to other agencies.

Shoplifting Prevention Classes

Defendants with theft charges are required to attend a one time, three hour shoplifting prevention class. Classroom time is counted toward the total number of community service hours required.

Number of Community Service Hours

The required community services hours typically range from 10 to 100 hours, however, additional hours can be imposed by the Commonwealth's Attorney and the Judge.

Program Fees

Participants in the community service program are required to pay a fee. Please confirm current fees by contacting OAR of Fairfax County's Alternative Sentencing Program at 703-246-3033. If a participant is determined to be indigent, the fee may be reduced or waived.

Become a Community Worksite

Would you like to partner with OAR to have community services workers assist with the work at your agency? Would you like someone to contact you with more information? If so, please click here.

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