Sentence Credit – Harder Than It Seems

You’d think that figuring out sentence credit would be simple.  I spent “x” days in jail, therefore I am entitled to “x” days of credit towards my sentence.  But calculating your sentence credit is rarely that easy.  This post covers the basics of sentence credit and common scenarios found in Wisconsin criminal cases.

The Law on Sentence Credit

Found in Wis. Stat. Sec. 973.155, the sentence credit statute 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 being tried; 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.  For that, we need to look at case-law.

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 already in custody and begins serving a sentence from a revocation, for example, then he does not receive credit on his new sentence.  Said another way, if a person is arrested for a second crime and begins serving a sentence from a prior crime, he is not entitled to credit on the second crime.

Also important is whether a sentence is consecutive or concurrent to other charges.  Sentence credit is served on a day-by-day basis, and therefore the same number of days cannot be 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.  So to use our example from above, if the offender is 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

Offenders are entitled to sentence credit on dismissed and read in charges as long as the dismissed and read in charges relate to the charge for which he is ultimately sentenced.  However, if a charge is dismissed and not read in, then the offender is not entitled to sentence credit towards the charge actually sentenced upon.

Confused?  Contact Us to Assist You

If the issue of sentence credit appears confusing, you aren’t alone.  Call one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys to assist you in making sure you receive the proper sentence credit you deserve.