Many people convicted of criminal offenses in Indiana are surprised to learn that it is possible to reduce your sentence through good time credit. Through good behavior during your imprisonment, you earn days off your sentence. If you abide by the rules daily, your one-year sentence could turn into only six months.
However, not everyone will qualify for good time credit. In fact, under IC 35-50-6-6, there are specific criteria in place that allow a convict to earn good time credit.
Indiana’s Good Time Credit
Under Indiana Code 35-50-6, individuals can earn an early release from imprisonment based on good time credit. The level of crime you are convicted of and your specific sentence determines how much good time credit you can accrue.
How to Earn Good Time Credit
For most misdemeanors and some low-level felonies, you may be able to earn day-to-day credit. You can earn a one-day credit for one day served, which could lead to your being released after you complete half of your initial sentence.
For most felonies, such as murder, drug crimes, sex offenses, and other felony crimes, you can earn a one-day credit for three days served. You could be released after completing 75% of your original sentence.
You may earn good time credit through completing a day without any disciplinary infractions, taking classes defined by Indiana law, and completing additional schooling such as obtaining your GED, an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree from an approved institution.
It should be noted that good time credit can be taken away for disciplinary actions or crimes committed during time served.
Who is Eligible for Good Time Credit?
Not all types of sentences are eligible for good time credit. You must be given an executed sentence, which includes time in prison and jail. This also may include time spent in house arrest and a work-release program.
Instances Where You Do Not Earn Good Time Credit
For your time during house arrest or work release to count toward a good time credit, it must be a direct commitment and not a condition of your probation. You do not earn credit during probation or parole. These distinctions matter a great deal if you and your attorney are negotiating a plea agreement that includes punishments outside of jail or prison.
If you have questions or concerns surrounding your eligibility for good time credit after your conviction, be sure to contact your criminal defense lawyer to discuss the specific details of your case.
What Happens After Your Release?
When you are released early from jail or prison due to credit earned, you are not necessarily finished with your sentence. You may be released on parole, which will include several rules, including:
- Regular check-ins with your probation or parole officer
- Random drug or alcohol testing
- Random searches by your parole or probation officer
- Mandatory job placement
- Housing requirements
- House arrest or curfew requirements
- License suspension
- Loss of firearm rights
Only after you have fulfilled the terms of your probation or parole will the terms of your sentence be met, and you can get back to your life.
It is important to note that if you are charged with another crime while on probation or parole or otherwise violate the terms as expected of you, your probation or parole may be revoked, and you may be forced to serve the original term of your sentence. This is in addition to facing additional penalties associated with another criminal conviction.
Do Judges Consider Good Time Credit?
Whether good time credit applies to your punishment upon conviction is based on Indiana law. The judge cannot decide when good time credit affects your sentence. However, judges can consider good time credit when determining your original sentence, though there is no rule saying they have to.
For instance, the lowest level felony is a Level 6 felony, punishable by six months in jail to up to two and a half years in prison. If you are sentenced to six months in jail and the day-to-day credit is available, you could ultimately serve only three months. If you are sentenced to the maximum – 30 months in prison – you could serve only 15 months before your release.
Judges will consider several factors in determining your executed sentence, and they may reflect on how good time credit will affect your actual time served.
Contact an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney
You should always fight to avoid jail or prison time. Unfortunately, even with the best defense attorney by your side, this is not always possible. Whether through a plea agreement or conviction, you may have to complete a jail or prison sentence.
With good time credit, you can make a proactive effort to reduce the length of your imprisonment. Contact Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer Sean Hessler at (317) 886-8800 and schedule an initial consultation to learn more about a potential sentence for a charge or good time credit.