Supervised Release Split Sentence – PC 1170(h) Los Angeles Felony Attorneys
Types of Supervised Release upon completion of Prison or Jail Sentence
There are two types of supervision that may be required following a felony conviction if you are punished with a sentence that must be served in a county jail or in state prison:
- Parole: Shall follow any sentence served in a California state prison and is administered by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”), or
- Post-Release Community Supervision (“PCRS”): May follow a felony sentence served in county jail. PCRS is administered by each individual California County typically by the County Department of Probation.
Another form of supervision known as county parole still exists under sections 3074, et seq. County parole boards are charged with creating rules and procedures for the release on parole of “any prisoner who is confined in or committed to any county jail, work furlough facility, industrial farm, or industrial road camp, or in any city jail, work furlough facility, industrial farm or industrial road camp under a judgment of imprisonment or as a condition of probation for any criminal offense . . . .” (CPC 3076(b)).
Split Sentencing and Mandatory Supervision (PC 1170(h)(5))
Realignment also provides a limited alternative to parole by way of supervision by the probation department for a portion of a county jail term imposed by the court. Under Penal Code section 1170(h)(5), the court, when imposing certain felony sentences to be served in the county jail, may commit the defendant to:
- Whole Sentence for a full term in custody as prescribed by the applicable sentencing law.
- Split Sentence for a term as prescribed by the applicable sentencing law, but suspend execution (known as “splitting” or “blending”) of a concluding portion of the term selected in the court’s discretion, during which time the defendant shall be supervised by the county probation officer in accordance with the terms, conditions, and procedures generally applicable to persons placed on probation.
This means that you may be able to serve a portion of your total county jail sentence on probation instead of serving the entire sentence in custody.
This period of supervision shall be mandatory and may not be sooner terminated except by court order. Just like formal probation, mandatory supervision can be revoked if you violate the terms of supervision and you can be arrested and returned to county jail to serve the remaining portion of your full sentence. This portion of a defendant’s sentenced term during which time he or she is supervised by the county probation is known as mandatory supervision.
Split or Blended Sentences
Sentences imposed under PC 1170(h)(5) have been characterized as “split” or “blended” sentences because they have both custody and non-custody elements. The length and circumstances of the suspended term are within the court’s discretion. There are many sentencing strategies available to the court, depending on the defendant’s circumstances, hopefully enlightened by a current risk/needs assessment done by the probation department. The following represent just a few of the options available to the court:
- The court could impose a sentence from the low, middle, or high term, and suspend a portion of the term and set conditions of supervision.
- The court could choose to impose a sentence under the provisions of PC 1170(h)(5), but reserve jurisdiction to set the actual time and conditions of release at a later time. Such a strategy might be appropriate where the court wants to give the defendant encouragement to complete various custody programs and do well in custody, then set relevant terms when the court determines release is appropriate.
- The court could structure the sentence to place the defendant on mandatory supervision for the entire term.
Felony sentencing and supervision in California has changed substantially as a result of Realignment. The new law is very complex, and difficult to understand. But it is designed to reduce the number of defendants who actually get sent to prison for a felony conviction.
Your experienced felony attorney will file a legal document that explains to the court why a probationary or a mitigated sentence is appropriate given the circumstances of your case. This document, sometimes called a Statement of Mitigation, may include information provided by the probation officer’s report (PC 1203). Under California Penal Code section 1203, if you are eligible for probation, a probation officer is required to investigate the circumstances of the crime and provide a report to the court and both the defense and prosecution at least nine days prior to the sentencing hearing. The probation officer’s report will include information about any aggravating or mitigating factors the court may consider when determining what sentence is appropriate in your case. This information can assist your defense attorney when preparing a Statement of Mitigation for the court to consider at the sentencing hearing.
Why should you hire a criminal defense lawyer if you are facing a felony charge?
If you or someone you care about is facing a felony charge, Wallin & Klarich can help. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 40 years of experience defending clients facing felony charges and sentencing. We are willing to assist you to gain the best possible result in your case, and we will use our knowledge and experience to help you gain an alternative sentence that does not include prison time. We have offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, Torrance, Sherman Oaks, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville and West Covina.
Call (877) 4-NO-JAIL (466-5245) today.
We will get through this together.