Custody Credits- IE-Criminal Defense

What are Custody Credits?

One of the more confusing aspects of criminal law is to understand the differences in Custody Credits that people will earn in jail. Custody credits means that a person incarcerated in a County Jail or State Prison, can earn the potential for a shorter sentence than what their Plea Bargain says. In other words, a person could sign a Plea Bargain for 7 years in a State Prison, but the actual amount of time you would serve could be much less than that 7 year total. There’s a potential for you to serve only 50% of that sentence, or 85% of that sentence. The amount of time you serve is based on the particular charges that you end up pleading guilty to. The percentage of time you actually serve in jail or prison, has nothing to do with a specific request your Attorney can make, it is based solely on the charge you end up pleading guilty to.

Also, as noted earlier, these are credits you can “earn”, they are not a guarantee. If you were to be in custody, cause problems by either breaking the law in custody, getting into fights, and fighting with deputies in jail, you will lose your ability of earning credits. So, you could be only serving a 50% sentence, but lose that, through “bad behavior”, and end up serving 100% of your sentence instead. In essence, the credit is given based on “good time” credits for people in custody who follow the custody rules of their establishment. Knowing how conduct credits work can help to make sure you are acceptable a fair and reasonable Plea Bargain for your case.

PC 2933.1 – 85%Credit

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, any person who is convicted of a felony offense listed in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 shall accrue no more than 15 percent of worktime credit, as defined in Section 2933.

People who are convicted of violent felonies, must serve at least 85% of that time in custody based on the charged offense.

Common code section this applies would be:

  1. PC 211 Robbery
  2. PC 287 Oral Copulation by Force
  3. PC 261 Rape
  4. PC 187 Murder
  5. PC 288(a) Lewd Acts on a Minor

The rest of the charges under this section can be found here: If you are convicted of a charge under this section, you do not get day of day credit, you get 15 days for every 85 days you spend in custody. In other words, if you are sentenced to serve 100 days in jail, you would serve 85 actual days, and receive 15 days for conduct credit.

PC 4019 – 50% Credit

(f) It is the intent of the Legislature that if all days are earned under this section, a term of four days will be deemed to have been served for every two days spent in actual custody.

Almost every other offense you can be charged with is known as a 50% charge – meaning every day you serve in County Jail, you will receive an additional day of credit, so long as your sentence is longer than four total days.

Common code section this applies would be:

  1. DUI
  2. PC 273.5 Domestic Violence
  3. PC 422 Criminal Threats
  4. PC 488 Petty Theft
  5. PC 647(b)(2) Soliciting a Prostitute

There is not a list for these charges that can be found under PC 4019, because only under PC 2933.1 are charges excluded from day for day credit. That means that if your charge is not listed above as a “violent” felony offense, you can earn up to one day of credit per day you spend in Jail or State Prison. That means that for every 100 days you were to be sentenced to in Jail, you would be required to serve at least 50% of that time, or in the 100 day example, 50 total days. Whether you serve 85% or 50% of your credit in custody is based solely on the charge you are convicted of, it is not something you can ask for as part of a Plea Bargain. Because PC 2933.1 is more limited in the listed crimes above, it means that most crimes are PC 4019 eligible, meaning day for day credit.

PC 667(c)(5) – What if I have a prior Strike Offense?

(5) The total amount of credits awarded pursuant to Article 2.5 (commencing with Section 2930) of Chapter 7 of Title 1 of Part 3 shall not exceed one-fifth of the total term of imprisonment imposed and shall not accrue until the defendant is physically placed in the state prison.

Custody credits for people who have a prior or serious strike are found under PC 667(c)(5). There, a person will early 1 day for every 5 days they are in custody. In other words, if you are required to serve 100 days, you must serve a minimum of 80 days, or 80% of that time in actual custody. This means that if you have a new crime that is only a 50% crime under PC 4019, but have a prior strike, then that new charge requirement would now become 80%, instead of 50%, if you have a prior strike under California’s Three Strikes Law.

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Conduct credits are very difficult, and many people misunderstand how they work, and how knowing the difference in conduct credits can determine how good of a “deal” you may have received in your case. A person can be sentenced to 7 years and do less than someone sentence to 5 years, based only on whether the charge falls under PC 2933.1 or not. Knowing how conduct credits works is essential in determining if you have made a good Plea Bargain for your case, and helps to make sure you made the best decision for yourself. At Inland Empire Criminal Defense, we have handled thousands of cases under PC 2933.1, PC 4019 and PC 667(c)(5), and know exactly the amount of time you are required to serve in custody.  I can explain and assist you or your loved one in your case too. Call your local Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney today at the Inland Empire Defense 909-939-7126. Located in Ontario.