The article doesn't specify, but I'm betting he doesn't have any prior criminal activity.
If he can clean up his act, he stays out of jail. It's worth a try, since it wasn't a violent crime.
They are giving him a second chance. If he blows it, that's his own fault.
This conviction will probably stay on his record, but a LOT of petty first time criminals come out of prison with a lot of new criminal skills.
At least he doesn't have to say he served time in prison, on job applications... assuming he IS applying for jobs.
If I was the judge, I would have made getting a job part of the 'probation'.
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress... but then I repeat myself.