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Sentence Credit – Harder Than It Seems

Calculating sentence credit in Wisconsin is more difficult than you’d expect.

Sentence credit calculations should be simple.  I spent “x” days in jail.  Therefore, I should receive “x” days of credit towards my sentence.  But calculating your sentence credit is rarely that easy.  In this post, criminal defense attorney Benjamin Van Severen discusses sentence credit.  He’ll discuss the law and common difficulties encountered when calculating sentence credit.

Our defense attorneys represent individuals accused of committing crimes.  We deal with sentence credit in every criminal case we work on.  If you have questions regarding sentence credit, let us know.

sentence credit calculations
Calculating sentence credit can be difficult.  Sometimes it doesn’t make sense.

The Law on Sentence Credit

Wis. Stat. Sec. 973.155 reads as follows:

  • A convicted offender shall be given credit toward the service of his or her sentence for all days spent in custody in connection with the course of conduct for which sentence was imposed. As used in this subsection, “actual days spent in custody” includes, without limitation by enumeration, confinement related to an offense for which the offender is ultimately sentenced, or for any other sentence arising out of the same course of conduct, which occurs:
  • While the offender is awaiting trial;
  • While the offender is in trial; and
  • While the offender is awaiting imposition of sentence after trial.

The offender also receives credit in whole or part as it relates to a probation or extended supervision hold placed upon the person for the same course of conduct.

Unfortunately, the statute does not cover all of the possible scenarios that could arise when computing sentence credit.  Here are a few common issue sentence credit issues:


Common Sentence Credit Scenarios

Courts have been consistent on one thing – an offender cannot receive dual credit.  What that means is if the offender is in custody and begins serving a sentence on a different case, he does not receive credit on his new sentence.  In other words, A defendant doesn’t get credit on a newer offense if he’s serving credit for an older offense.

Also important is whether a sentence is consecutive or concurrent to other charges.  Sentence credit is calculated on a day-by-day basis.  Therefore, time is not credited to two or more consecutive sentences.  For example, if an offender is sentenced to 1 year jail on Count 1 and 1 year jail on Count 2, consecutive to each other, and if he has 90 days of total credit, the 90 days must be applied to either Count 1 or Count 2, but not both.

The opposite of consecutive is concurrent.  Using the example from above, an offender sentenced to 1 year jail on both Count 1 and Count 2, but the sentences are concurrent to each other, then the 90 days of sentence credit must be applied to both counts.


Dismissed vs. Dismissed and Read In

A dismissed and read-in charged is dismissed.  You can’t be charged with the offense ever again.  But, for the purposes of sentencing, the judge can consider the conduct underlying the dismissed and read-in charge.  A dismissed case is just that: dismissed.  These two scenarios result in different sentence credit calculations.

You’re not eligible for sentence credit on a dismissed case.

Defendants are entitled to sentence credit on dismissed and read in charges as long as the those charges relate to the charge for which he is ultimately sentenced.


Confused?  Contact Us to Assist You

Sentence credit can be confusing.  As this brief discussion shows, calculations depend upon various factors.  The criminal defense attorneys at Meyer Van Severen defend individuals accused of committing crimes in the State of Wisconsin.  We regularly encounter sentence credit issues.  If you’re looking for help with this or any other criminal issue, contact us at (414) 270-0202.  Our criminal defense attorney are available 24/7.

Attorney Ben Van Severen