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PC 1170(h) Sentencing

What is sentencing under PC 1170(h)?

In 2011, California implemented a new law, known as PC 1170, to address the issue of overcrowded jails and reduce the prison population. Under this law, judges now have the authority to suspend or divide prison sentences for individuals convicted of crimes that would typically result in State Prison sentencing. Instead, these individuals may serve their prison sentence in local county jails. County jails accommodate individuals with open criminal cases, probation violations, or sentences of one year or less. Sentences exceeding one year are typically served in State Prisons. It’s worth noting that individuals facing a custody time of 15 years or more will be sent to State Prison rather than County Jail. It’s important to emphasize that County Jails are situated within the county where the offense occurred, while State Prisons can be any prison facility in California, regardless of the case’s location.

What is the difference between a Suspended and a Split Prison Sentence?

A suspended sentence is a type of prison sentence that is not immediately served. It offers an alternative to traditional incarceration, but comes with the understanding that a specified period of time, known as the suspended sentence, remains hanging over the individual. For instance, someone might receive a sentence of felony probation and 180 days of county jail, along with a 5-year suspended sentence. This means that if the person violates probation, the 5-year sentence could be imposed and they would serve actual custody time in prison.

On the other hand, a split sentence differs from a suspended sentence in that it requires some custody time. With a split sentence, part of the sentence is served in county jail while the remaining time is spent under house arrest or on work release. For example, if convicted of a felony that carries a 16-month low term sentence, only 8 months would be served in county jail, while the other 8 months would involve out-of-custody confinement, such as being on house arrest while wearing an ankle bracelet.

These two types of sentences provide different alternatives to solely serving time in prison, allowing for various forms of custody and confinement to be implemented. This helps in maintaining public safety while also considering individual circumstances and rehabilitation prospects.

How can I tell if I am eligible for a Split or Suspended Sentence?

To be eligible for the benefits under PC 1170, there are certain criteria you need to meet. You cannot have a conviction for a serious felony, a violent felony, or a sex offense.

A serious felony is defined by PC 1192.7, which lists the offenses that fall into this category. You can find the complete list here: Serious Felonies Under PC 1192.7.

Similarly, a violent felony is defined under PC 667.5. For more information and a comprehensive list of violent felonies, you can visit Violent Felonies Under PC 667.5.

Lastly, a sex offense includes any sex crime that requires Sex Registration under PC 290(c). To understand the legal consequences of failure to register as a sex offender and to know your obligations, you can refer to this resource: Legal Consequences Of Failure To Register As A Sex Offender: Know Your Obligations And Avoid Harsh Penalties.

By fulfilling these requirements, you can ensure your eligibility for the benefits outlined in PC 1170.

What are some common charges that are eligible for Split or Suspended Sentencing?

There are various types of crimes, excluding those mentioned above. Here are some commonly encountered offenses, along with their corresponding Penal Code sections:

  • Statutory Rape (PC 261.5)
  • Perjury (PC 118)
  • Embezzlement (PC 503)
  • False Imprisonment (PC 236)
  • Elder Abuse (PC 368)
  • Speed Content (VC 23109)
  • Identity Theft (PC 530.5)
  • Grand Theft Auto (PC 487)
  • Receiving Stolen Property (PC 496)
  • Vandalism (PC 594)

Please note that this is just a partial list, as there are numerous other criminal offenses that could fall under PC 1170 sentencing. Additionally, being eligible for split sentencing doesn’t necessarily mean your case will result in a prison sentence. Often, your attorney can negotiate for a probational sentence instead, wherein you are supervised by a probation officer. Probation is typically granted for low-level offenses or individuals with no prior criminal record. While a split or suspended sentence is possible, probation without custody time or a suspended sentence is also an option, depending on the specifics of your case.


Facing a felony charge can indeed be daunting, as it carries potential consequences that extend well beyond the legal realm. The implications of a conviction can affect your freedom, employment, and future opportunities. It’s critical to understand your legal options and rights to minimize exposure and maximize the potential for a favorable outcome in your criminal case.

At Inland Empire Criminal Defense, located in Ontario, we specialize in providing vigorous defense and comprehensive legal support for individuals facing felony charges. Our team is committed to understanding the specifics of your case, exploring all possible defenses, and developing a strategy aimed at reducing the potential impact on your life.

Whether you’re looking for representation in negotiations, seeking to have charges reduced or dismissed, or preparing for a trial, our experienced attorneys are here to guide and support you through every step of the process. We believe in a proactive and informed approach to criminal defense, ensuring that our clients understand their options and make decisions that are in their best interests.

If you or a loved one is dealing with the complexities of a felony charge, don’t face it alone. Contact Inland Empire Criminal Defense at 909-939-7126 for expert legal assistance. We’re here to provide you with the representation and guidance needed to navigate through this challenging time and work towards the best possible resolution for your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, Inland Empire Criminal Defense prioritizes your privacy and confidentiality. Every consultation with our attorney is conducted with the utmost discretion, ensuring your information remains secure and private.

Yes, understanding the financial pressures that can come with legal representation, our attorney offers flexible payment plans. This approach ensures that quality legal defense is accessible for all our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Yes, Inland Empire Criminal Defense offers free consultations. This is part of our commitment to providing accessible and transparent legal services to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

We offer both in-person and over-the-phone consultations to accommodate your preferences and needs. Whether you’re in Riverside, San Bernardino, or Los Angeles County, we ensure that you can access our legal services in the way that suits you best.

Our office is typically closed on weekends. However, we do make exceptions for meetings by special arrangement. Our commitment is to be as accommodating as possible to meet the unique needs of our clients in Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties.

Our legal services are specifically tailored to residents of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles Counties. For cases outside these areas, we recommend consulting to find appropriate legal assistance. Our focused approach allows us to provide specialized defense catering to the unique legal landscape of these counties.

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