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Ask AttyDort Your Own Question
AttyDort, Litigation Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 96
Experience:  Criminal and Civil jury trial expeirence; 17 yrs exp in state and federal courts.
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Is a jail sentence enforceable if the sentence is postdated

Customer Question

Is a jail sentence enforceable if the sentence is postdated
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

Yes. It is common for judges to order jail time that will start in the future, and/or to give defendants credit for jail time served in the past. Judges often want to give a defendant a chance to make arrangements for a jail term so that they do not lose their house or job. There is no law that I am aware of which requires a jail term to begin immediately.

Let me know if you have follow up questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My plea agreement stated that I would turn myself into/schedule to serve jail (8day sentence) by March 1, 2015. I attempted to do so, twice. Once on Feb 26th, again on March 3rd. I was turned away because there was no paperwork, the sentence had not been filed. Around March 7th, I received a voicemail from the jailer stating there was still no paperwork. Finally, the paperwork was sent to me, on March 13th, signed by the judge on March 9th. Is this sentence still enforceable?
Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.


Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

You almost certainly have the right to make a motion for modification of the sentence, but I cannot tell if it would be of any benefit to you. Make sure you keep all of the documents you have for the case well organized and in a safe dry place for later use.

Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

If this happened in March, and you did not serve the time, you should immediately contact the court clerk at the courthouse where you case is pending to determine the status of your case as of today.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have been in contact with the court. They sent all the sentencing paperwork to a wrong address, so I never got it (although, it is dated as I mentioned above). I run two business full time so I stay very busy and since I had called them twice and was told I'd be contacted when paperwork came through, I waited. I was not aware any paperwork had been processed until I was approached on a warrant for not scheduling a chemical assessment (DUI charge), on June 1st. Since, I have scheduled and completed the chemical assessment. At my last hearing for this matter, the judge apparently had no idea the jail sentence hadn't been completed because the jailer never issued a warrant. I'm sure the jailer realized the issue with the postdated paperwork and the fact that I had indeed, attempted to comply, and therefore technically, I had fulfillled my end of the obligation or "agreement"... but who knows. At my last hearing for this "probation violation" (not scheduling the CA), my attorney brought up the jail time mistakenly, I'm sure.. since this hearing had nothing to do with jail) and then everyone realized it was still "unsatisfied". Now, the time and arrangement for my kids and businesses has come and gone, due to the court's lag. I was able to fulfill the sentence March 1 - 8th, but literally was not allowed to do so until March 13th... Now, I have a 3rd business location opening and 2 kids in school. This seems like the courts fault and I feel I should be met with some kind of compromise with this jail sentence.. What do you think?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I should include- now, they want my jail time to be scheduled by 9/8/15.. but as I said, I feel there needs to be some compromise here.. A "motion for modification" sounds like something I should look into. Thank you for bringing that up.
Expert:  AttyDort replied 1 year ago.

I think you are going to have to serve the jail time, and that you should do it immediately to avoid getting arrested out of the blue one day while you are driving your kids to something fun. The jail sentence is not going to go away.

However, a person who has an attorney's representation in this situation (either a private attorney that you hire or an assigned public defender) can instruct that attorney to file a Motion for Modification of Sentence.

Speaking from the court's perspective, a jail sentence is punishment and involuntary loss of liberty. You do not get to do it on your terms - from the court's perspective.

You need to get on this immediately.

The best way to handle the motion would be to send the attorney in for you, and you do not go at first to avoid the possibility of being taken into custody right away. Then if the court will not rule on the motion without you there (which is a possibility) you would have to go in person, but that appearance could be scheduled in a way so that if they do remand you instantly, you will have had a couple of days to prepare.

Compromise is not really an activity I would expect a criminal court judge to participate in. The judge and the court don't have any motivation to negotiate with you. They can just wait until you are arrested and brought in.

Usually it is not the jailer that issues a warrant. I do not know which court you are in, and am speaking generally. The way it usually works is that the jail will report to the court that the defendant did not serve the time, and then the court will issue the arrest warrant, not the jailer. Jailers do not have power to issue warrants. Warrants are court orders.

If you are on probation also, it is possible that this problem could cause a revoking of your probation.

One thing I know for 100% is that it will not magically go away.

Another thing I know for sure is that once the matter is before the court, the judge is going to want to know why you did not address the problem sooner.

So for those reasons, I'd say you must contact the court clerk now, to determine the status of your case as of now.

If you are on probation, and the court clerk tells you there is no warrant yet, you can contact the court's probation department and ask for instructions.

At the same time, a person in this position should get an attorney working on that motion so that it can be filed later today.

Those are my thoughts.