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Penal Code 1170 d2

Sentencing laws such as PC 1170 can have a significant impact on the punishments that individuals face for committing crimes. As such, it is important to understand these laws if you are facing criminal charges.

What Is PC 1170?

PC 1170 is a penal code stating that those who have been convicted of relatively minor, nonviolent felonies may be permitted to serve time in county jail rather than a state prison. This allows individuals to remain near their family and friends for visitation; this means less severe rules and standards than they might find in a state prison.

Under this penal code, a judge may allow a suspended sentence which permits the defendant to avoid incarceration altogether and serve probation instead. Because the offenses eligible for PC 1170 are nonviolent in nature, those who serve probation rather than incarceration pose no threat to their community.

Finally, PC 1170 permits judges to grant compassionate release to inmates with terminal illnesses such as advanced or aggressive cancer.

Eligibility for County Jail vs. State Prison

Though justice and rehabilitation are objectives of the California judicial system, the safety of the community is also of the utmost importance. Because of this, certain convicted individuals are ineligible to serve their time in a county jail rather than a state prison.

Serious felony convictions make an individual ineligible to serve their time in county jail. Examples of serious felonies include:

  • Rape
  • Murder or voluntary manslaughter
  • Assault
  • Arson
  • Burglary or robbery
  • Kidnapping

Aggravated felonies, that is, felonies in which the perpetrator used a deadly weapon, and sexual crimes of all kinds are also ineligible for time served in a county jail instead of a state prison.

If you have prior convictions, you may not be permitted to serve time in county jail.

Alternative and Split Sentencing

PC 1170 allows for suspended sentencing, which is also known as alternative sentencing in some circumstances. These laws empower a judge to allow a defendant to serve probation rather than incarceration in jail or prison. Probationary requirements may include mandatory counseling, community services, fines, and more.

Split sentencing is an option that allows the defendant to serve a portion of their sentence in jail and serve the rest via home confinement or work release.

Recalling a Sentence

Nonviolent prisoners who are not a threat to the community can petition for a recall of their sentence if they are facing a terminal illness. To be considered terminal, the individual must be expected to live no longer than 12 months or require around-the-clock care for their condition. This is also called compassionate release.

Very few people are eligible for this particular part of PC 1170. If you believe your sentence is too long or your punishment is inappropriately harsh, you may be able to seek reconsideration under AB 2942.

The Purpose of PC 1170

PC 1170 aims to alleviate the pressure on state prisons, as most are overcrowded and lack proper resources to house inmates. Because sentences served in county jails are usually lighter, the county jails do not face the same overcrowding issues.

PC 1170 is part of a group of legislative bills that aim to fix overcrowded prisons as well as ensure that sentences are fair and reflect the severity of the offense. California has historically enacted harsh sentences that over-punish individuals rather than rehabilitate them.

Why Should I Petition for County Jail Over State Prison?

Aside from the overcrowding issues that state prisons face, the rules and limitations are much stricter in state facilities than they are in county ones. As an inmate, you will likely face more rules, harsh enforcement, and limited resources in state prison. County jail may offer you more options for rehabilitation, classes, and other activities while you are incarcerated.

State prisons house serious offenders, some of whom are volatile and difficult to be around, while others continue to perpetuate violence in prison. If you are a nonviolent offender, sharing common spaces with violent criminals may be difficult, and it is unnecessary if county jail is an option for you.

How Do I Petition PC 1170?

If you would like to be considered for terms of PC 1170, you must do so with the help of a qualified attorney. Petitioning the court for special circumstances is a precise and complicated process, and it’s one that few can properly execute without the help of a professional. An attorney greatly increases the validity of your argument and shows the court that you are serious about seeking alternative sentencing.

For the court to accept your application, you need to present evidence and create a compelling argument in your favor. Attorneys help their clients to assemble appropriate evidence and weave their contents into a full argument for the court. Without this, the court may not have the grounds to grant you re-sentencing under PC 1170.

Spending time in county jail rather than a state prison can have a significant impact on your future and your well-being. If you believe you may be eligible for this program, find an attorney right away.

Other Options

If you are not eligible for re-sentencing under PC 1170, there may be other programs or laws that affect your case. Though many new laws and bills are retroactive, they are not automatic. This means you must petition to have your case reconsidered if the laws surrounding your incarceration change.

Count on Power Trial Lawyers for Criminal Defense, Re-Sentencing, and Appeals

Our team at Power Trial Lawyers has many years of experience in criminal defense as well as re-sentencing and appeals. We feel confident that we have the experience and the training to properly represent you and your family during a defense case, appeal, or other criminal concern. Though this may be your first encounter with the law, we have years of experience that work to benefit our clients and provide reliable legal counsel.

For more information about our firm or to begin a petition under PC 1170, please contact Power Trial Lawyers today.

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