DOC Doesn’t Decide Credit Time Served, Judge Does

prison cell.jpg We knew this, right? Sometimes, Florida’s high and mighty Department of Corrections likes to tell prisoners what they’re getting for time served. This isn’t usually a problem until there’s a disagreement. DOC always wins, right? Wrong. There is hope,….read on.

Steven Howard was adjudicated guilty of uttering a forged instrument, petit theft, and forgery in Polk County. Howard v. State of Florida, 23 So.3d 1273 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2010). He violated his probation several times (probation is tough, who can blame him), and sentenced twice to the Bridges of America Program. On both Bridge sentences, Howard awaited placement into the Bridge drug treatment program while he was in jail — basically waiting for a bed to become available (typical). After failing this drug treatment program twice, Howard was sentenced to fifty months prison, but the DOC / prison denied him credit for the jail time served while awaiting entry into the Bridge program. He appealed.

First thing Howard did was ask the original judge to tell DOC to give him credit, but the court did not grant his request for the additional credit time served. The court reasoned that, because his “sentence” was over, Howard’s time simply waiting for placement did not count as sentence ‘credit’. Fortunately, the appeals court disagreed.

Howard was, eventually, given credit for all the jail time served waiting for bed space to become available at the Bridge program. Let this be a lesson to all, please have a local criminal defense lawyer handle all stages of a criminal case, don’t let important details such as credit time served are not forgotten. Doesn’t it make you feel good to see a court order DOC to do something, anything? I feel good.