How many times does a person need to be arrested before they serve any jail time?
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There is no rule, you can go away the very first time. Sometimes its mandatory as a crime with a gun (One year mandatory). There is an alternative to incarceration called accelerated Rehabilitation for someone who never committed a crime before. If approved by the judge, you get probation, community service and other possible actions during a probationary period but can get your record cleared at the end.
With A/R, a fine or probation on the second offense, most often, jail becomes a very real possibility thereafter.