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One of the most heart-breaking situations a family can go through is having a loved one sentenced to a term of incarceration in prison.

A question that frequently comes up is when the incarcerated individual can apply to be released early. There are laws in Ohio that allow for the possibility for individuals to be released early from prison, specifically in Ohio Revised Code 2929.20.

The first step is to make sure that the convictions at issue are not precluded, meaning we first have to make sure that the crime(s) that the individual was convicted of is an eligible offense(s).

Most offenses are eligible, but ineligible offenses include crimes committed while in public office and offenses such as bribery, corruption, tampering with records, intimidation, and retaliation against witnesses.

If the conviction(s) involve an eligible offense, we next look at the prison term–meaning the number of years the individual was sentenced to prison. The number of years dictates when the individual is eligible to apply for judicial release. Important note: this evaluation only applies to non-mandatory prison sentences. Mandatory prison sentences (such as for specifications, like gun specifications) must be served in their entirety before you begin to calculate eligibility for judicial release.

Here is the eligibility time schedule:

  • If the non-mandatory prison term is less than 2 years, the individual may file for judicial release after 30 days;
  • If the non-mandatory prison term is at least 2 years, but less than five years, the individual may file after 6 months;
  • If the non-mandatory prison term is exactly 5 years, the individual may file after 4 years;
  • If the prison term is more than 5 years, but not more than 10 years, the individual may file after 5 years have been served;
  • If the prison term is more than 10 years, the individual may file after serving half of the prison term.

Now, back to the issue of non-mandatory prison terms vs. mandatory prison terms. Let’s say an individual receives a 4 year sentence for robbery, and also is convicted of a 3 year gun specification, for a total sentence of 7 years, with 3 years mandatory. At the completion of the 3 year mandatory gun specification sentence, the clock begins to tick for judicial release on the non-mandatory 4 year sentence. Pursuant to our above chart, the individual is eligible 180 days into that 4 year sentence, and thus would be eligible after 3.5 years to file for judicial release.

All of this just deals with eligibility of offense, and eligibility time-wise to file.  There are still many other factors that go into a judicial release, and the judge still has discretion to grant or deny a motion for judicial release, even if the individual is eligible. It is thus very important to retain a lawyer for this process who can help put the case in the best possible light, and also it is important that the individual get involved in programming at the institution and not receive any infractions. A lawyer can help guide the family in placing the individual in the best possible light, talking strategy of when to file, and other helpful information to ensure the highest chance of a judicial release motion being granted.

Contact Ashley Jones Law if we can help discuss a family or friend’s case and whether they are eligible for judicial release.


(216) 736-8551