Judges sometimes impose community service on lawbreakers instead of giving them Jail Time. Sometimes there is minimum jail time in addition to community service. Just this week alone, there have been numerous reports about people receiving community service for breaking the law.

People have often wondered how the hours are determined. They also want to know when a judge is likely to give an order for someone to perform unpaid work.

Unpaid work

Community service is unpaid work that an offender is required to perform. Most of the time, the judge will stipulate where the lawbreaker is required to work.

Occasionally, the offender will be allowed to choose where he or she wants to make restitution by working at a specific place in the community.

Usually, the service is in conjunction with the Crime. For example, if teens paint a building, they will be required to restore the build by repainting it. If a person breaks the law by littering, he may have to clean the park where he littered. A drunk driver might have to go around to schools and speak to kids about drunk driving.

The labor is designed to benefit the community where the offense took place. In a lot of cases, the service keeps the person out of overcrowded jails. A service is performed for minor crimes and not for serious offenses that carry a greater punishment.

Number of hours

Most of the time, community service is given in connection with something else, such as a fine, a minimum time in jail, or probation, and at other times, the service is all that is required.

Matt Barnes of the Golden State Warriors was given just 10 hours for disorderly conduct in a nightclub, according to the New York Post.

Blue Jays Ken Pagan threw a 24-ounce can of beer at a Baltimore Orioles outfielder. He was given 100 hours in addition to being banned from major-league games for a year. Two teens were given 200 hours in addition to reading a book and doing a book report for target practice with firearms and a man was shot with a stray bullet.

The number of hours a judge will impose is left up to the judge's discretion and the laws of the state. From the above real examples, three different judges ordered community service ranging from 10 hours to 200 hours.

Throughout the years

Singer Bobby Brown completed 240 hours for a 1996 drunken driving conviction. Actress Winona Ryder received 480 hours for a shoplifting conviction in 2001. President Bush's twin daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush were ordered to perform community service for their underage drinking case in 2001. Jenna served 36 hours, and her sister served just eight hours.

Martha Stewart completed 1,000 hours while Michael R. Milken was served the largest number of hours in history in the 1980s for 98 counts of racketeering and securities fraud. He was given 5,400 hours as well as a ten-year prison sentence.