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Utah Jails - "Good Time" Credit

The following page provides general information on "good time" credit in Utah jail sentences. If you are facing potential jail time for a felony or misdemeanor charge in Utah, it is vital to have the assistance of an experienced defense attorney. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

How much "good time" credit can be earned in Utah jails?

Utah law allows a judge at sentencing to order jail time either as part of a misdemeanor sentence or as a condition of probation in a felony case. Unlike a felony prison sentence which involves "indeterminate" sentencing ranges (e.g. 0-5 years or 1-15 years), a judge imposing a jail sentence will order a specific number of days to be served in jail (e.g. 45 days or 180 days). But the number of days actually served in jail is often less than the number of days ordered by the judge. This is often due to what is commonly referred to as "good time" credit.

Utah Code 76-3-403 provides that the custodial authority (typically the county sheriff) has discretion to give an inmate credit against any jail sentence for good behavior. The statute allows credit for up to 10 days against every 30 days to be served. If the jail sentence is less than 30 days, then the statute allows up to 2 days credit for every 10 days to be served.

Should I ask a judge at sentencing to allow "good time" credit?

It may be tempting at a sentencing hearing to ask the court to allow "good time" credit against any jail sentence that is being ordered. But it is a temptation to avoid.

Under Utah Code 76-3-403, the jail has discretion to grant credit for good behavior, unless the judge has entered an order preventing such credit. But the statute does not allow a judge to order the jail to grant credit for good behavior. Even if a judge were to order a jail to grant credit for good behavior, Utah Code 76-3-403 still leaves with the jail the ultimate decision to grant or not grant credit.

So while there may be a temptation to ask about "good time" credit at sentencing, it is not a good idea. If the judge says no, then the jail is prohibited from granting credit for good behavior. But if the judge says yes, it is a meaningless order because the a jail still has final decision-making authority on the issue.

Do I need an attorney?

You should always consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney when you are facing criminal charges. Even a relatively "minor" misdemeanor conviction can have serious consequences. It is better to get help from seek assistance and advice at the beginning of the case, rather than waiting until the case is done and it is too late.

Finding a Utah Criminal Defense Attorney

Utah Criminal LawyerChoosing the right attorney for your criminal defense case is one of the most important decisions you will make. With criminal defense experience ranging from aggravated murder to complex white-collar crimes and virtually everything in between, we have the experience necessary to help ensure that your rights are protected. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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Serving Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, Cache, Tooele, Summit, Box Elder, and Wasatch Counties, and all of Utah.

Attorney Stephen Howard practices as part of the Canyons Law Group, LLC and Stephen W. Howard, PC.

Offices in Salt Lake and Davis Counties
560 South 300 East, Suite 200, Salt Lake City, UT 84111
952 S. Main St., Suite A, Layton, UT 84041

Call now to arrange for a confidential initial consultation with an experienced and effective Utah criminal defense lawyer.

In Salt Lake City, call 801-449-1409.
In Davis County, call 801-923-4345.

Stephen W. Howard, PC

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