Due to how the the laws work in New York State and also depending if you have ‘jail time credit’ for any amount of time spent in custody on criminal or traffic law charges, you may not need to serve any additional jail time, even if the Judge orders it as part of your sentence.

Day of Release
For instance, if you have three (3) days or less remaining to serve on a jail sentence, and you surrender yourself to police on a Friday, then you should be released from the station the very same day.  This is due to the fact that the New York State Corrections Law provides that “[w]hen the date of release from imprisonment in any county jail or jail farm, any city prison or workhouse, falls on Saturday or Sunday, it shall be deemed to fall on the preceding Friday.”

Additionally, the New York State Penal Law provides that a person shall receive jail time credit for time spent “in custody prior to the commencement of such sentence as a result of the charge that culminated in the sentence” and such such time shall be calculated “from the date custody under the charge commenced to the date the sentence commences.”  Penal Law 70.30(3), see Hurley v Fox, 133 AD3d 997, 998 [3d Dept 2015].

Hawkins v Coughlin
Furthermore, in Hawkins v Coughlin, 72 NY2d 158, 162 [1988], the New York Court of Appeals found that the term “custody” was also intended to mean “confinement” or “detention” under guard and that Penal Law 70.30[3], “makes it clear that ‘jail time’ includes time spent in ‘custody’ no matter where the time was spent.  “This means that the defendant will get credit for time spent, under arrest, in a police station or state police barracks.” Hawkins at 162.

Accordingly, if you are arrested on criminal charges in the evening and taken into custody and are released the following day, you would technically have two (2) days of jail time credit.  This is so because there are no hourly calculations involved with jail time credit, and all time is counted in days only.

For example, let’s say you are sentenced to 7 days jail by a judge, but you also have 2 days of credit for time spent in custody after your arrest.  Once the ‘good time’ credit is also factored in, then you will actually have less than three (3) days remaining to serve on your total sentence. In this case, if you go to the Police station on Friday, then you will booked and released the same day, since your release date on the third day would have fallen on a Sunday.

So, if you are facing some minimal jail time by a judge, but you also spent some time in custody after your arrest (even if it was just in the police car or station and you weren’t booked into a jail), then, with the right attorney, you might be able to cash in your real-life ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card.’


    Consult the Nelson Law Firm today on any criminal or DWI charges and your jail time could literally vanish.