View Full Version : mandatory minimums and 85%

11-24-2007, 08:58 PM
I am a little confused and need some help. My man is serving a 3 year mandatory sentence and we have both heard conflicting info as to whether he will only have to do 85% of the time of if he has to do 100% since it is mandatory. His release date hasn't been posted yet because he is still in the city jail. It may be months before he is moved. Can anyone shed a little light??

11-25-2007, 08:27 AM
Welcome to PTO! Glad you found us and we can help answer the questions you may have.

A mandatory sentence means that the judge can't sentence him for less. Most charges have guidelines with a minimum and a maximum, if they want to go out of those guidelines the judge has to have a really good reason. Either the crime was really bad or the person cooperated or there were extenuating circumstances. Mandatory minimums means that they cannot go below that. One that comes to mind is possession of a firearm by a felon carries mandatory 2 years. The judge cannot go less than that. He could go higher, but he can't suspend or give less than the 2 years.

Now, once you get into the correctional system, your time served is subject to the good time credit of 4.5 days for each 30 served. This works out to 85%. There are certain crimes that are not eligible (I believe murder is one of them) and a life sentence cannot change, but the vast majority of inmates are eligible for the good time credit. They can lose it if they get in a fight or something like that, but they are eligible to earn it.

So even if he was given 3 years as a mandatory sentence, he should be able to get the good time credit and he will end up serving 30.6 months of his 36 month sentence.

Here are some definitions:

§ 18.2-12.1 ( Mandatory minimum punishment; definition.
"Mandatory minimum" wherever it appears in this Code means, for purposes of imposing punishment upon a person convicted of a crime, that the court shall impose the entire term of confinement, the full amount of the fine and the complete requirement of community service prescribed by law. The court shall not suspend in full or in part any punishment described as mandatory minimum punishment.

§ 53.1-202.2 ( Eligibility for earned sentence credits.
Every person who is convicted of a felony offense committed on or after January 1, 1995, and who is sentenced to serve a term of incarceration in a state or local correctional facility shall be eligible to earn sentence credits in the manner prescribed by this article. Such eligibility shall commence upon the person's incarceration in any correctional facility following entry of a final order of conviction by the committing court. As used in this chapter, "sentence credit" and "earned sentence credit" mean deductions from a person's term of confinement earned through adherence to rules prescribed pursuant to § 53.1-25 (, through program participation as required by §§ 53.1-32.1 ( and 53.1-202.3 (, and by meeting such other requirements as may be established by law or regulation. One earned sentence credit shall equal a deduction of one day from a person's term of incarceration.

§ 53.1-202.3 ( Rate at which sentence credits may be earned; prerequisites.
A maximum of four and one-half sentence credits may be earned for each thirty days served. The earning of sentence credits shall be conditioned, in part, upon full participation in and cooperation with programs to which a person is assigned pursuant to § 53.1-32.1 ( Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no portion of any sentence credits earned shall be applied to reduce the period of time a person must serve before becoming eligible for parole upon any sentence.

Then it goes on to say how they can take it away, but this is the meat of it all. Hope that answers your question.

11-26-2007, 11:22 AM
I Just Learned Something From That, Thank You For That Advice Too Cause My Fiance Has A Manditory Sentence Of 2yrs And A Extra Year But He As Already Recieved Credit So He's Doing Less Than That But His Lawyer Was Like She Thinks He Has To Do 100% Of 2 And 85% Of One Year But They Just Gave Him Extra 5 Credit So That 9.5 I Don't Know How In The World He Got That But Thats What He Told Me. He Aslo Keeps Getting Promoted So They May Be Why? I Dont Know, But Thank You.

11-27-2007, 03:17 PM
I am confused. So you are saying they gave him an extra 5 days in addition to the 4.5 day he gets per month? How is that possible if they can only give you 4.5? I mean it would be wonderful, but I am just confused.

11-27-2007, 07:56 PM
I talked to DOC about this and there is no way they can give any inmate more than 4.5 days per 30, it is the law. They can give less, but not more. They do take the days served in jail toward the total, but let me repeat this - There is no way anyone can give anyone charged after 1995 more credits that the 4.5 days per 30. I have researched this and looked at all things trying to find a loophole. I talked extensively to a very high up person at DOC regarding this, and possible extenuating circumstances. He told me they wish they had a way to reward inmates, or provide incentives, but they cannot. THe state law says the most they can give is 4.5 days per 30 or 85%.

In the case of 2 years mandatory, plus one more year, that equals 3 and of that 36 months, with good time, it comes to 30.6 months to actually serve.

The mandatory minimum only comes in when the judge sentences. DOC doesn't care why you are there, they just want to make sure they never let you go until the very day you are to walk out those gates. :D

11-28-2007, 06:15 AM
Well maybe these inmate counselors or lawyers are giving these inmates a false sense of hope or maybe these inmates want to hear good news so badly that they are misunderstanding what they are told. Just like when T keeps telling me how he is being encouraged to seek a sentence reduction. I don't have the heart to tell him that he probably doesn't have a chance in hell of getting that. I just sit there and try my best to do what I can to keep his spirits up. I just really think some of these folks just need to let them know what the real deal is instead of encouraging them to find ways to get out early eventhough they have no chance of doing that. Maybe they are just trying to make them feel good so that they can continue to be well behaved. I don't know, but lie would be a lot better if these stupid a%@ lawmakers would stop pigeon holing all inmates into one lump and give credit to those who do have good behavior and would be productive members of society if given a chance! Ok enough of my platform...gotta go to

11-28-2007, 02:14 PM
Here are some actual examples of how people exploit this:

A jailhouse lawyer will charge you $300 to write the judge to reduce your sentence. (You are in DOC and out of the jurisdiction and the sentence cannot be changed.)

Several guards walked around yelling to the inmates that they need to make sure their bunks are made and areas cleaned or they won't qualify for the new lower good time credits they just passed in Richmond. (It was September, they were not in session and we all know this law didn't get passed.)

Counselors who tell the inmates their release date has not been calculated yet and check back in a month. (Its on the DOC page and has been for 6 months.)

11-28-2007, 06:08 PM
can you give me an estimate to when my husband will get out? hes been in regional that he gets credit for 11 months and 15 days, he got sentenced to 2 years his lawter said he had to serve 21 months of 2 years(85%)? thanks

11-30-2007, 09:21 PM
i believe the guards, counselors, even the lawyers provide false hope for the inmates. i was so glad to learn that my honey would be eligible for the good credit and 85% is better than 100. thank u so much for all of your help.

12-01-2007, 06:48 PM
can you give me an estimate to when my husband will get out? hes been in regional that he gets credit for 11 months and 15 days, he got sentenced to 2 years his lawter said he had to serve 21 months of 2 years(85%)? thanks

Since I don't have specific dates I will tell you how to do it. Take the date he went in and add the 20.5 months which is 85%. That will be his release date. Whether he served some at local and then DOC doesn't really matter as it all goes into the pot together. If you want me to give you an estimate, you can PM me the details and I will be happy to plug it in my spreadsheet.


12-04-2007, 01:44 PM
once again january is coming new bills and all of that stuff, in my business i can sometimes talk to these men in richmond, i have talked to rob bell here in charlottesville but i don't live in his area so he won't talk to me although he said he doesn't agree with reducing time f)(&*)(*K him, and the one in our area won't return my calls so i will be in richmond this year at some point and they will listen to me and i am going to say how i feel about all of them if they can't talk to us why vote for them or even use our states money to pay them, according to bell it has to be a bill to reduce the phone charges, but we can file a class action law suit with only two people starting things, let all stand together and beat this terrible system, i know we can do it

01-07-2008, 09:50 PM
My man told me today that he was told that at the city jail he will get 5 days for each 30 vs. the 4.5 at DOC? Does anyone know if that is correct? How do I calculate from a 3 yr sentence?

01-08-2008, 10:34 PM
My man told me today that he was told that at the city jail he will get 5 days for each 30 vs. the 4.5 at DOC? Does anyone know if that is correct? How do I calculate from a 3 yr sentence?

yeah my boyfriend told me that before when he was at middle river, but i'm not sure if he was told a lie.

01-09-2008, 03:23 PM
According to the Virginia Code, no DOC facility or local jail can give more than 4.5 days per 30 served as a credit. It is possible they just rounded and said "Yeah, you get 5 days for each 30" instead of 4.5.

If you happen to get 5 days, or any other credit over the 4.5, kiss the ground and thank your lucky stars.

01-09-2008, 08:44 PM
Thats what I thought. It's hard to get lucky in VA!! Thanks dw