Time Calculations

One of the more common questions defense attorneys are asked is how much of a particular sentence someone needs to serve.  This information is valuable in negotiating pleas or assessing whether a trial is necessary given the particular facts of a case.  In Louisiana, most offenders are eligible for an early release for good behavior which has coined the term “good time release” though its formal name is “dimunition of sentence.”  In essence, “good time” is the accelaration of a sentence. So, for every day you’ve spent in jail, you will earn “additional days” towards your sentence.  The particular “rate” depends upon whether it is a violent or non-violent crime.  If we are dealing with a crime of violence, the inmate earns one day in jail for every three days he has served in jail.  Effectively, this means he can earn 25% off of his sentence.  As such, people commonly say that those serving time for a crime of violence must serve 75% of their sentence.

However, there are some exceptions.  In Louisiana, someone serving a sentence for a second crime of violence is not elibile for an early release for good behavior.  Also, anyone adjudicated a habitual offender is not eligible to earn any good time credits either.

So, how can you tell what your early release date will be? The simple answer is to look at the Master Record.  You will see a row in the center of the first page that gives the Good Time Act applicable to the offender, his “DS” or “Diminution of Sentence” date and his “Adjusted” or additioanl time off awarded to the inmate.  The later reflects time off earned for rehabilitative classes.

André Bélanger, a graduate of Loyola University, is a highly-respected criminal defense attorney serving the people of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and surrounding areas of Ascension Parish and New Orleans, for one of Baton Rouge’s top-25 law firms. In his 18 years of practicing law, Mr. Bélanger has handled thousands of criminal cases at both the pre-trial and trial stage, including approximately 200 trials. This trial experience includes homicide defense and prosecution, large drug conspiracies and fraud cases making Bélanger one of the few attorneys capable of handling even the largest, most complex federal cases. Having spent years devoted to developing a top-tier regional law practice for federal court and state court litigation, Mr. Bélanger is admitted to practicing law in all federal courts in both Louisiana, Mississippi, the United States Supreme Court and the U. S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.