Time Served

Definition - What does Time Served mean?

Time served refers to the amount of time that a criminal defendant has spent in jail, waiting for a bail hearing or awaiting trial, at the time of sentencing.

Time served is an important consideration at the time of sentencing because, in most jurisdictions, judges can give convicted individuals credit for the time that they have already spent in jail. When a judge grants a convicted individual credit for time served, the individual will be released from jail sooner than if the judge does not give credit for the time served.

Justipedia explains Time Served

Time served typically begins accruing when a criminal defendant is booked in jail for an offense. For most crimes, when an individual is arrested, they will stay in jail until a bail hearing. At a bail hearing, the court will decide whether to release the accused with a promise that the accused will appear in court for all the hearings until the matter is resolved, or to release the accused after a certain amount of bail is paid.

If the accused cannot afford bail, they will stay in jail until found guilty and sentenced, or after found innocent and the case is dismissed. The time that the accused spends in jail during this time often counts toward their sentence calculation. So, for example, if a statute requires a minimum sentence of 10 days in jail for a second drunk driving offense, and the defendant spends three days in jail before posting bail, a judge will often give the defendant credit for the time served. With three days' credit for time served, the defendant will only have to spend an additional seven days in jail.

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