How to Get Credit for Time Served in Jail in Milwaukee

How to Get Credit for Time Served in Jail in Milwaukee

If you are facing criminal charges in Milwaukee, one primary concern is likely the amount of time you could spend in custody. Losing your freedom and being away from your family and friends can be extremely worrisome, and if you’ve already spent time in jail waiting for your trial, you’ve probably wondered how to get credit for time served in jail.

This legal mechanism seeks to maintain fairness and make the punishment more appropriate for the offense. By recognizing the time you have already spent in jail, the legal system aims to prevent unnecessary or excessive imprisonment.

What Is Time Served in Jail in Milwaukee?

When you’re arrested in Milwaukee, any time you spend in jail before sentencing may count towards your sentence. This is “time served.” For example, if you’re arrested and spend two months in jail before the court sentences you to six months, you might only need to serve four more. This system acknowledges the time you’ve already spent behind bars and includes that period as part of your punishment.

How Does Jail Credit Work in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the courts apply jail credit to reduce the sentence of a convicted individual by the amount of time they have already spent in custody due to the charges for which they are being sentenced.

Day-for-Day Credit

Courts match each day spent in pre-sentencing custody with a day subtracted from the final sentence, counting both full and partial days. For example, a defendant who has spent 100 days in jail before sentencing and receives a 365-day sentence will serve only 265 days.

Related Confinement

Courts give credit only for time spent in custody directly related to the crime for sentencing. They do not credit days in custody for unrelated charges. So, an individual held for 30 days on a theft charge and later 90 days for an unrelated drug charge will receive credit only for the 30 days if convicted of and sentenced for the theft.

Concurrent vs. Consecutive Sentences

When a judge imposes multiple sentences simultaneously, they apply credit to each if the sentences are concurrent. For consecutive sentences, they apply the credit only to the first sentence.

For instance, imagine that a defendant receives two consecutive one-year sentences and has spent 90 days in pre-sentencing custody. The court applies the 90 days to the first year only, leaving the second year at its full term.

There is no automated system or “credit for time served calculator” in Wisconsin. Each situation requires meticulous attention to the specifics of the case and the applicable laws. For accurate calculations and to ensure fair application of jail credit, individuals should seek the advice of an experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorney.

Does a Judge Have to Give Credit for Time Served in Jail?

In Wisconsin, judges generally must grant defendants credit for the time they have served in jail before their sentencing. State law mandates this credit. However, there are specific exceptions to this rule:

Revoked Probation or Parole

If a defendant is in custody due to a violation of probation or parole terms, and the probation or parole is subsequently revoked, the time spent in custody awaiting the revocation decision may not always apply toward their new sentence.

Suppose an individual on parole is arrested and held in jail for two months due to a parole violation, like failing a drug test. If the parole board decides to revoke their parole, the time spent in jail awaiting this decision may not count toward any new sentence for a different crime committed during or after the parole period.

Technical Violations of Supervision 

If a person is in jail because of a technical violation, time spent in jail will not count toward any eventual sentence. Technical violations involve non-criminal breaches of specific parole or probation conditions, such as:

  • Missing appointments with a parole officer
  • Violating curfew
  • Failing to attend mandated treatment sessions

What Is the Good Time Credit for Prisoners in Wisconsin?

Good time credit in Wisconsin, also known as “earned release” or “good behavior credit,” allows incarcerated individuals to reduce their prison terms through good behavior while they’re inside. This system motivates prisoners to exhibit good behavior and participate in rehabilitation programs by allowing them to shorten their sentences in circumstances such as:

  • Earned Release Program: Inmates can earn good time by completing approved treatment programs or educational courses to aid in their rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Inmates engaged in substance abuse programs, vocational training, or educational advancement might see reductions in their sentences. The amount of reduced time can vary, typically from a few weeks to several months, depending on program length and the inmate’s engagement level.
  • Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP): This program targets nonviolent offenders and involves physical training, military discipline, and mandatory treatment programs. Participants who complete the CIP can reduce their sentences by up to 6 months, depending on their sentence length and the program’s duration.
  • Behavior and Compliance: Maintaining good behavior is another way to earn credit. Inmates who avoid disciplinary infractions can earn reductions periodically throughout their sentence. Depending on the specific rules and policies of the institution, an inmate might earn a reduction of a few days up to a month each year for continuous good behavior.

Contact Hart Powell, S.C. Today

If you have spent time in jail before your sentencing in Milwaukee, you can receive credit for that time towards the sentence you receive for conviction of the crime you were incarcerated for. Working with one of the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Hart Powell, S.C. can help you secure the maximum credit possible.

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges in Milwaukee, don’t wait. The sooner you involve an attorney, the more time they will have to build a strong defense and advocate for your rights at every stage of the legal process. Contact Hart Powell, S.C. at (414) 271-9595 or reach out online to schedule your confidential consultation today.


Written by Michael Hart & Craig Powell

Last Updated : May 30, 2024