Obtaining Work Release In Montcalm County
No one wants to be sentenced to jail time, but in some circumstances it cannot be avoided. If you are facing a jail sentence in Montcalm County, you want to do everything you can in order to minimize the damage to your life. This includes trying to keep your job while you are serving your sentence.
One way to preserve your employment status during a jail sentence is to seek work release. Another benefit to obtaining work release is that you get released during work hours, and can more quickly pass the time during your period of incarceration.
The following information discusses qualifications for work release in the Montcalm County jail, and steps that you can take to make it more likely that you will receive work release.
Make sure you meet the qualifications.
The qualifications for work release are determined by the Sheriff, and the jail makes the ultimate call about whether or not you qualify and will be granted work release. While the judge may authorize you to receive work release, the ultimate decision is up to the jail. The judge does not have the authority to order that the jail give you work release.
- Length of employment
The jail will require that you have been employed with your employer for at least the last 30 days. You can’t obtain a new job days before your sentencing and obtain work release.
- Proximity of your employer to the jail
The jail requires that your employer be located within a county that is contiguous to Montcalm County. Counties where work release may be authorized include Montcalm, Mecosta, Kent, Newaygo, Ionia, Isabella, and Gratiot.
- Prior criminal history
Certain offenses in your criminal history can disqualify you from work release, such as certain violent offenses, sex crimes, or drug crimes.
- Current conviction
The conviction for which you are being sentenced can disqualify you from work release, including certain violent offenses, sex crimes, and drug crimes.
- Substance abuse history
A history of substance abuse or a current substance abuse problem could disqualify you from work release.
Discuss your situation with your employer and prepare them to be contacted by the jail regarding work release.
If you are going to get work release, your employer has to be involved in the process. After you complete your work release application, the jail is going to contact your employer for verification. There’s no keeping it a secret. Additionally, there is likely to be a day or two after you enter the jail that you won’t be released before your work release application is processed. You’ll need to discuss your legal situation with your employer and gain their cooperation in the work release application process.
Complete your work release application ahead of sentencing.
You can speed up the process somewhat if you complete your work release application prior to sentencing. You should request a copy of the work release application from your attorney. It also avoids a situation where you find yourself inside the jail and unable to access the information needed to complete the application.
Make arrangements for transportation from the jail to work and back.
You’ll need to make arrangements for transportation to work from the jail, and back to the jail at the end of your shift. If your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, you will not be permitted by the jail to transport yourself in violation of that suspension or revocation. You’ll need to plan for a driver to transport you each day. That driver should be prepared to complete a background check and to have their valid driver’s license ready to produce at the jail when they pick you up for work.
Bring enough money to sentencing to pay your fines, costs, and work release fees.
The judge is less likely to authorize work release if you fail to pay your fines and costs on the date of sentencing. In addition to those funds, the jail will require you to pay a weekly fee (generally under $200) for work release. The first week’s fee must be paid upfront. You should plan to bring approximately $200 in cash into the jail when you are sentenced to pay this fee. Further weeks will be deducted directly from your paycheck.
Get authorization from the judge to receive work release at sentencing.
You or your lawyer will need to make a request to the judge that work release be authorized at sentencing. However, as stated above, even if the judge authorizes work release, the final decision to grant work release will be made by the jail.
Options if you don’t qualify for work release.
If you don’t meet the qualifications for work release, the District Court in Montcalm County also has a house arrest program. In this program, you are required to wear a tether, and are confined to your home. However, you can gain permission to leave your home for employment purposes. This is most likely to be granted if your employer is located in a county that is too far away from the jail, or you haven’t met the requirements for length of employment.