Criminal Defense Attorneys Explain Work Release in Arizona

Criminal defense attorneys always get asked by their clients if they can be released from jail so that they can continue to work. However, there is a big difference between misdemeanors and felonies. People sentenced to prison are typically not eligible for any type of work release or furlough. The short answer is that work release is typically only available to those people who are sentenced to jail for misdemeanor offenses. Misdemeanor DUI convictions are the most common case where work release is granted. Work furlough (a completely separate program with very different rules) is typically given to people sentenced to jail for felony offenses.

Work release allows a person to be released from a jail facility for 12 hours a day, 6 days per week. If the person violates the terms of release, they may be excluded from the program and forced to serve the remainder of their sentence with no work release option. The most typical violations are failure to return to the jail on time and returning with alcohol or illegal drugs in the blood.

For misdemeanor offenses, virtually everybody who is eligible for work release will get it. For felonies, however, it is up to the judge. Judges tend to grant only work furlough for felony cases.

There is a big difference between work release and work furlough. Here are the highlights. Remember to call a criminal defense attorney to get the specifics.

1. Work furlough requires that you pay a daily fee. Work release does not.

2. Work furlough requires that the inmates employer sign a letter of understanding. Work release does not.

3. Work furlough requires a minimum 32 hour work week. Release has no such requirement.

4. Work furlough inmates can only go to work and return to the jail. Release inmates can go home.

5. Both furlough and release require a health screening for longer incarceration.

The rules for work furlough change all the time, so please take the time to speak with a criminal defense attorney if you have any questions. Feel free to call 602-989-5000 and ask for Stacey Feldman. Ms. Feldman is a former prosecutor for Maricopa County. She is very familiar with all of the rules and requirements for both programs. The Law Offices of Alcock and Associates has criminal attorneys standing by to answer your questions.

Posted by criminal defense attorney Nick Alcock

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