When someone has been convicted of a crime, it doesn’t mean that the criminal case is complete. It is still possible to reduce jail time or sentence even if all appeals have been completely exhausted. Anyone who has been or is to be sentenced to serve a term in prison should understand how they can shorten their jail time. While state and federal rules vary, they still share certain guidelines in common. Below are some tips on how to lower sentence jail time.

Find information about a related crime

According to Federal Rule 35, an individual can get their sentence reduced if they can provide information about a related crime. It should be done within one year after the judge announces their sentence. Additionally, some exceptions that can make one eligible for sentence reduction are available even after one year is over. The information can be presented to an attorney for assistance. Experienced defense attorneys understand how to work to reduce a convict’s sentence term.

See if you qualify for a commutation

State and Federal law provide that a prisoner can qualify for a commutation through good behavior or the power of governors. Several states give governors the power to commute a life sentence to a defined term. A prisoner seeking to reduce their sentence can try to see if they qualify for the same. However, one must exhaust other possibilities of reducing their jail time before applying for a commutation. Additionally, when applying for a commutation, it is advisable to attach all supporting documents that might help one’s petition then submit them to the right office.

Consider other alternative programs provided by the state

Several states offer rehabilitation programs that can help reduce a prisoner’s sentence. The most popular programs include the Residential Drug Abuse Program which is ideal for those who have verifiable drug use disorder. The Federal Bureau of Prisons offers a non-residential substance abuse treatment that goes for 12 weeks. It is ideal for inmates with short jail terms and who may not qualify for the RDAP.

File a motion for an extraordinary case

If a prisoner has an extraordinary condition such as terminal illness, they can file a motion and seek a reduction in their jail time. One can also get a reduction of their sentence by showing the court that sentencing guidelines were changed or reduced when they were already serving a sentence.

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Find errors if any in a sentencing order

Errors can occur in sentencing orders. In case an individual notices one, they should alert judges as soon as they can. Federal laws allow judges to correct errors in sentencing orders within 14 days though it may vary from state to state. This can help to reduce one’s sentence term.


No one wants to spend their entire life in prison. Most people still don’t know that they can reduce their jail time if they can meet certain requirements. The above are some of the measures that one can take to reduce their sentence. However, it is advisable to work with an experienced defense lawyer who understands the measure to take to help reduce jail time.