Serious or Violent Felony… Why the Distinction Matters at the Time for Sentencing

What you need to know about violent vs serious felony sentencing

If you are being charged with a serious and/or a violent felony you are currently facing a “strike” under California’s “three-strike law” and it is a good idea that you contact an attorney to help you fight your case. However, there are other distinctions that come into play regarding serious and/or violent felonies in California. Not only do they carry strikes as consequences of accepting a plea or being found guilty of, but they also are treated differently in the eyes of the court as far as sentencing and credit calculations are considered.

Understanding Conduct Credit

A serious felony will carry with it a sentencing and credit calculation at the rate of 50%. This means that if you plea to a serious felony or are found guilty of a serious felony, you will accumulate credit at the rate of 50%. This is best understood with an example. If you spend 100 actual days in custody you will receive 100 days of conduct credit and therefore will essentially only serve ½ of any sentence that is imposed.

Violent Felony vs a Serious Felony

A violent felony is drastically different then a serious felony for the purposes of sentencing and credit calculation. What this means is that a plea or a conviction on a violent felony will not give you a sentence of “half time” rather you only accumulate credit at the rate of 15%. So in the same example above if you spend 100 actual days in custody you will only receive 15 days of conduct credit.   So before accepting a plea to a violent felony please consider your other options and try negotiating a plea with the district attorney for different charge that will not keep you incarcerated for a longer period of time.

Contact Our Redlands Criminal Defense Attorney Today!

If you do not know whether you charge is a serious or a violent felony contact an attorney at The Haynes Law Firm, APLC at (833) 526-5197 so we may assist you and answer any questions you may have and ascertain what type of charge you are facing.



Crista Haynes is the principal attorney at The Haynes Law Firm, APLC and is highly experienced in the areas of family law, criminal defense and estate planning.