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Those accused of crimes, especially if they are first-time offenders, are often offered court-ordered classes rather than harsher penalties, such as prison or fines. They may even get out of paying restitution or probation if they complete these courses. These are things you should know about these education programs.

Why Classes Are Ordered?

With society’s focus on reducing the number of prisoners in federal and state detention centers, these classes have become more common sentences in the courtroom. These classes, such as those offered through the court ordered education program Massachusetts, are often sentencing alternatives for those accused of domestic violence, assault and battery, traffic-related offenses, drug and alcohol crimes and others. In fact, in some cases, the judge will drop criminal charges against suspects who complete these courses, so their records remain clean. This is especially beneficial to first-time offenders or juveniles who are being tried as adults.

What Types of Classes Are Available?

A judge can order classes on anger management, domestic violence, child endangerment and abuse, parenting, drug and alcohol awareness, juvenile behavior and betterment, critical thinking, shoplifting and theft and divorce or separation. Each jurisdiction has different class options and requirements.

Are All Classes Approved?

The short answer is no. Each court has its own requirements, and education programs must be submitted to the judge for approval before the course is taken. The judge will look into the program to ensure that it provides the education required. Once approval is given, the defendant needs to complete the coursework and submit a certificate of completion or other documents to the court.

Are There Online Options?

Yes, some court-ordered class programs offer online options. However, it is especially important that the court approves these programs before they are paid for and completed. Offenders are typically given a specific period of time to complete the coursework, so these individuals need to be self-motivated enough to complete their online coursework. Otherwise, they need to find a physical program.

If you are ever ordered by a judge to take classes, pay attention to when you need to complete the classes and make sure your classes meet the court’s requirements.