Half-Time Credits – Why the in-custody term for most crimes is actually half of what is ordered by the Court.

If you are sentenced to State Prison, County Jail, or County Jail as a condition of probation, you are ordinarily entitled to “half-time” credits, unless you committed a violent felony (a type of “strike” offense) requiring you to serve the offense at “85 percent” time [Cal. Penal Code §§ 667.5(c), 2933.1], or have been found to have suffered a “strike prior” requiring that you serve the time at “80 percent” [Cal. Penal Code §§ 1170.12(a)(5), (c)(1)]. What this means is that if you are sentenced to a period of one-year, for instance, that term is deemed served after six “actual” months. But why?

Authority for “Half Time” Credits under Penal Code section 4019

The authority for “half-time” credits lies in Penal Code section 4019. Under Penal Code section 4019, “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.” Cal. Penal Code § 4019(f). This provision indicates that a defendant is deemed to have served his or her sentence once half of the term completed has been actually served in custody. See, e.g., People v. Delgado (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 761, 763-764. It applies to the following situations:

(1) When a prisoner is confined in or committed to a county jail, industrial farm, or road camp or any city jail, industrial farm, or road camp, including all days of custody from the date of arrest to the date on which the serving of the sentence commences, under a judgment of imprisonment or of a fine and imprisonment until the fine is paid in a criminal action or proceeding.

(2) When a prisoner is confined in or committed to the county jail, industrial farm, or road camp or any city jail, industrial farm, or road camp as a condition of probation after suspension of imposition of a sentence or suspension of execution of sentence in a criminal action or proceeding. [This is custody as a condition of probation.]

(3) When a prisoner is confined in or committed to the county jail, industrial farm, or road camp or any city jail, industrial farm, or road camp for a definite period of time for contempt pursuant to a proceeding other than a criminal action or proceeding.

(4) When a prisoner is confined in a county jail, industrial farm, or road camp or a city jail, industrial farm, or road camp following arrest and prior to the imposition of sentence for a felony conviction.

(5) When a prisoner is confined in a county jail, industrial farm, or road camp or a city jail, industrial farm, or road camp as part of custodial sanction imposed following a violation of postrelease community supervision or parole.

(6) When a prisoner is confined in a county jail, industrial farm, or road camp or a city jail, industrial farm, or road camp as a result of a sentence imposed pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

(7) When a prisoner participates in a program pursuant to Section 1203.016 or Section 4024.2. Except for prisoners who have already been deemed eligible to receive credits for participation in a program pursuant to Section 1203.016 prior to January 1, 2015, this paragraph shall apply prospectively.

Cal. Penal Code § 4019(a).

To put it succinctly, you are entitled to these “half time” credits any time you are confined or subject to a program that is the equivalent to confinement, such as Alternative Sentencing Programs, whether as a condition of probation, or as part of an actual sentence to prison or County Jail.

Half-Time Credits and Alternative Sentencing Programs

As mentioned in the citation above, you even receive half-time credits when you participate in a program under “Section 1203.16”, that stands as the equivalent to confinement such as Alternative Sentencing Programs. Under 1203.016(a), the Board of Supervisors of any California County is entitled to permit the creation of a home detention program, whereby the defendant is placed “in a home detention program during their sentence in lieu of confinement in the county jail or other county correctional facility”. Cal. Penal Code § 1203.016(a). Among the rules that must be incorporated into such a program, the statute requires:

(1) The participant shall remain within the interior premises of his or her residence during the hours designated by the correctional administrator.

(2) The participant shall admit any person or agent designated by the correctional administrator into his or her residence at any time for purposes of verifying the participant’s compliance with the conditions of his or her detention.

(3) The participant shall agree to the use of electronic monitoring, which may include global positioning system devices or other supervising devices for the purpose of helping to verify his or her compliance with the rules and regulations of the home detention program. The devices shall not be used to eavesdrop or record any conversation, except a conversation between the participant and the person supervising the participant which is to be used solely for the purposes of voice identification.

(4) The participant shall agree that the correctional administrator in charge of the county correctional facility from which the participant was released may, without further order of the court, immediately retake the person into custody to serve the balance of his or her sentence if the electronic monitoring or supervising devices are unable for any reason to properly perform their function at the designated place of home detention, if the person fails to remain within the place of home detention as stipulated in the agreement, if the person willfully fails to pay fees to the provider of electronic home detention services, as stipulated in the agreement, subsequent to the written notification of the participant that the payment has not been received and that return to custody may result, or if the person for any other reason no longer meets the established criteria under this section. A copy of the agreement shall be delivered to the participant and a copy retained by the correctional administrator.

Cal. Penal Code § 1203.016(b).

Solano County has established a program as discussed by Penal Code section 1203.016, the Alternative to Custody program (“ATC”), which includes electronic monitoring. In Solano County, the ATC program does award Penal Code section 4019 credits for time spent on the program if the custodial term ordered is more than 6 days. Napa and Yolo Counties, and mostly all other California Counties, have some form of Alternative Sentencing as well, each with their own rules governing the applicability of when Penal Code section 4019 credits become available.

Getting Everything You Are Entitled under the Law

If you are charged with any type of crime – whether felony or misdemeanor, or strike offense – you need the assistance of an attorney who is driven to provide the best results, provide you all that you are entitled under the law, and keep you out of custody by any ethical means necessary. At Honeychurch & Boyd, our office has over 40 years of experience in providing results-driven representation focused asserting all of your rights under the law to keep you out of jail. If you were arrested in the Solano County communities of Fairfield, Green Valley, Vacaville, Benicia, Vallejo, Dixon, or Rio Vista, or anywhere in  Napa and Yolo Counties,call us today for a free consultation to see how you can benefit from being represented by one of the premier law firms in the area, at 707-429-3111.