Florida Court Holds That Granting Credit for Time Served in Other Jurisdictions is Discretionary

If you are convicted and sentenced to be incarcerated, in certain cases you may be given credit for any time you were in jail after your arrest for the subject charges prior to your conviction. Recently, a Florida district court of appeals defined the circumstances in which a court is required to give credit for time served, and when such credit is discretionary.  If you are a Clearwater resident currently facing criminal charges, you should retain a trusted Clearwater criminal defense attorney to help you develop arguments that will assist you in retaining your liberties.

Facts Regarding the Defendant’s Arrest and Conviction

The defendant was charged with first degree murder and burglary in Florida. The defendant was arrested in Argentina but fought his extradition to Florida for several years. During that time he remained in an Argentine jail. He was ultimately extradited and tried and convicted of the charges. He was subsequently sentenced to imprisonment. The defendant then filed a motion seeking credit for the time served in the Argentine jail. The trial court denied his motion, after which the defendant appealed.

Florida Law Regarding Credit for Time Served

Section 921.161 of the Florida Statute states that a prison sentence will not begin to run until the date such sentence is imposed, but the court imposing the sentence must grant the defendant credit for the entirety of the time he or she spent in a county jail prior to the sentence. The credit given must be for a specific period of time and the amount of time credited must be indicated in the sentence. While the law requires trial judges to give a defendant credit for time served in a Florida county jail prior to the disposition of offenses charged, the law does not require a judge to give a defendant credit for time spent in a jail in other jurisdictions.

A trial judge has the discretion to award credit for time spent in jail in another jurisdiction while awaiting extradition to Florida, however, when the time spent in jail is solely for the Florida offense for which the defendant is being sentenced. Here, the court found that the trial court properly considered the facts before it in weighing whether the defendant should be granted credit for the time served in the Argentine jail. As such, the court found no abuse of discretion and affirmed the denial of the appeal.

Speak with a Trusted Criminal Defense Attorney in Clearwater Regarding Your Case

If you face criminal charges in Clearwater, it is important to retain a trusted criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight on your behalf, to help you pursue the best outcome possible under the facts of your case.  William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a trusted Clearwater criminal defense attorney who is ready to provide you with a thorough and vigorous defense. He can be reached at 727-897-5413 or via the online form to set up a meeting.

More Blog Posts:

Florida Manslaughter Conviction Upheld as Appeals Court Rules that Prosecution Did Not Improperly Comment on Defendant Not Testifying, November 20, 2017, Clearwater and St. Petersburg Criminal Lawyer Blog

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