Florida Court Rules Credit for Time Served Cannot be Retracted

In many instances when a defendant is charged with a crime, he or she will remain in jail until the ultimate disposition of the case. Often, when a defendant who is found guilty or pleads no contest to criminal charges is sentenced to imprisonment, a court will grant the defendant credit from time served for the time spent in jail prior to the resolution of the case.

As a Florida appellate court recently explained, once credit for time served has been awarded, Florida courts are not permitted to retract the award, even if it was given in error.  If you are charged with a criminal offense and you live in Clearwater, you should meet with a trusted Clearwater criminal defense attorney to discuss your case and possible defenses to the charges you face.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the defendant was charged with kidnapping and robbery in case 2010-CF-109 to which he pleaded no contest. He was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment followed by 3 years of probation. He received a credit of 460 days for time served. The plea agreement, however, credited the time served to case number 2010-CF-010, another case under which the defendant was charged. As such, the defendant received credit for time served under both cases.

Allegedly, during the probationary period for 2010-CF-109, the defendant violated his probation. He entered an open plea and was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment and 5 years of probation, with 1,915 days credited for time served. The time credited did not include the 460 days which were previously awarded, because the trial court found that it was served while he was in custody for 2010-CF-100. The defendant filed a motion arguing the court erred in retracting the credit that had previously been awarded. The court granted the motion in part, but only awarded credit for 45 days on the grounds the remainder of the days were earned under case 2010-CF-100, not 2010-CF-109. The defendant appealed.

Florida Rules Regarding Credit for Time Served

Under Florida law, a court is not permitted to retract credit for time served, even if the credit was awarded erroneously. Florida courts have held that permitting a court to rescind previously awarded jail credit imposes an increased penalty and constitutes a violation of the defendant’s Fifth Amendment right against double jeopardy. Moreover, the court noted that credit for time served cannot be withdrawn when a defendant is resentenced for a probation violation.

Rather, unless a defendant expressly and specifically agrees to waive credit for time served as a term of a plea agreement, any credit must be given at a probation violation resentencing hearing. Thus, the court found that the trial court erred in failing to award the defendant the credit for time served he was previously awarded, regardless of whether he was legally entitled to the credit. As such, the court reversed the trial court ruling and remanded the case so that the defendant’s sentence could be amended.

Discuss your case with an Experienced Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney

The State is required to comply with certain sentencing guidelines and cannot retract credit for time served, even if it was awarded in error. If you reside in Clearwater and face criminal charges, it is in your best interest to discuss your case with an experienced Clearwater criminal defense attorney to evaluate your available defenses.  Attorney William Hanlon of Hanlon Law is a seasoned Clearwater criminal defense attorney who can provide you with a thorough and vigorous defense. Mr. Hanlon can be reached at 727-897-5413 or through the online form to schedule a meeting.

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