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Criminal Sentencing Under AB 109

Jan 06, 2017 by Mike McKneely in Criminal Defense

If you have been charged with a crime, you may be concerned about spending time in jail or prison. Fresno criminal defense lawyer Michael McKneely knows how devastating a criminal conviction can be on your life. Contact him to find out how he can help you reduce charges and minimize penalties. Call today at (559) 443-7442 for a free consultation.

According to Governor Jerry Brown, California’s prison system is the most crowded in the United States, with an inmate population of over 170,000. The capacities of state-run prisons have been stretched to the breaking point. Many are forced to house people in common areas, such as gymnasiums and cafeterias, creating a tremendous safety risk for prisoners and state employees alike.

Assembly Bill (AB) 109, often referred to as the public safety “realignment,” was created to resolve this issue. It dramatically affects sentencing for people convicted of certain felonies. At its core, the bill represents split sentencing, where, rather than being sent to overcrowded state-run prisons, people convicted of low-level, non-sexual, and non-violent felonies are assigned to a split sentence of time in county jail and out-of-custody probation.

Split Sentencing: Replacing Prison with Jail Time and Probation

Built into AB 109 is the ability for judges to split sentences into county jail time and probation supervision for people convicted of low level felonies. A split sentence involves a portion of the sentence being served in a county jail and another portion being served outside of custody under the supervision of the probation department.

Time spent in custody is usually reduced by half for good time and work time credits; however, the period of a split sentence spent on probation is not. If, for example, an individual is sentenced to 12 months in jail and 2 years on probation, only the time spent in jail would be eligible for early release based on good behavior. The time served out-of-custody must be served in full, meaning the previously mentioned individual would spend 6 months in jail and 2 years on probation.

Eligibility for Split Sentencing

Felony crimes that are not listed in the Penal Code as serious, violent, or sex related are eligible for split sentencing under AB 109. However, only newly convicted individuals qualify for AB 109 realignment. People currently serving time in state prisons cannot be transferred to a county jail and cannot have their sentences split.

Some examples of felonies that are eligible for split sentencing include:

  • Commercial or second degree burglary
  • Corporal injury to a child
  • Possession or sale of marijuana
  • Forgery
  • Evading a police officer

Some crimes that are not eligible for split sentencing include:

  • Violent felonies
  • Felonies with a prior conviction
  • Spousal battery
  • Bribery of judge or jurors
  • Pimping
  • Aggravated sex crimes

Contact Fresno Criminal Defense Lawyer Mike McKneely Today

If you or a loved one is accused of a crime regulated by AB 109, you may be eligible to have your sentence split so that you spend less time in jail. Please contact an experienced Fresno criminal defense attorney for a free consultation at (559) 443-7442. Michael McKneely, Criminal Defense Lawyer has over a decade of experience trying criminal cases and will work tirelessly to reach the outcome you deserve.

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