In my years of practice as a legal practitioner, I’ve never heard anything as absurd as the assumption above. If you didn’t know much law, you might have probably been among the bandwagon of people who are spreading this belief.

You might want to excuse yourself by saying, oh! I never knew this assumption was wrong. However that is a legal Maxim which says: “ignorantia lexus non excusat” meaning if you think because you’re ignorant about any law governing you, it can not work as an excuse.

Back to the question, do you think a person who is sentenced for say 10 years in prison, will serve 5 years because of the assumption that a day in prison is counted as 2 days?

If you think so, then you’re definitely wrong, as the number of years for which a person is sentenced for, is the number of years he/she will serve.

The only condition for which an inmate may serve a reduced sentence is if the Manual of the State provides reliefs for inmates on grounds of good conduct.

The Governor of a State also has the power to remit sentences in celebration of  special occasions like 15th August by a uniform policy on grounds of old age or illness or exceptional conduct in jail.

These exceptions may be the reason for the inmate coming out of prison earlier than the duration of the sentence, and as such, the reason for such myths.

day for day in prison

Courts are closed on weekends i.e. Saturday and Sunday so someone arrested on Friday night will have to be in police station till Monday.

This is all shades of wrong! Courts are never closed, not even because of a national holiday. Courts are always open 24/7.

You’ll always find a Duty magistrate and additional session judges in district courts available to resolve cases that are “urgent” and seeing to it that anyone arrested is granted bail within 24 hours of such arrest.

This is counted as a good to both High Courts and Supreme Courts.

Criminals go to High Court handcuffed for their trials. Divorce cases are contested in High Courts.

Yet another wrong assumption, but sadly still spread by many people.

High Courts are only for appeal cases and no accused person needs to go to the High Court, as cases of witnessing are only handled at lower courts known as District Courts.

Bail in police station. Lawyer of hero/villain coming to police station to get bail.

This is not true! The police do not in any way have the right to grant bail to anybody they arrested. However, the bail is moved before a court which in turn grants bail in the presence of the investigating officer.

The accused remains in the custody of the police before he/she is presented to the court or in police custody granted by the court itself.

Any bail application should be first forwarded to the police before it is heard in court, and only granted after the court has heard the police. The police can only grant bail from the station in bailable offences that doesn’t need to be presented before any court or require the services of a lawyer.

A judge/advocate moves in parties wearing his black court/white shirts/collar band/tie and even advocates’ gown.

I can help but laugh at this myth, especially because I’ve seen it play out in some films.

A judge or advocate would under no circumstance, choose to wear his/her court dress (or even a white shirt/black coat that’s normally their dress code) when not in the confines of the court. 

Advocates arguing moving this way to that way and picking their files from the back desk.

I believe you must have seen scenery played out in most movies shown these days where an advocate is seen working from pillar to post just to argue his case. However, the truth is advocates have to stand still at one side of the court while stating their case.

As it is usually done in trial courts, the first party’s lawyer stands to his left hand side, while the other counsels on the right hand side (each standing with their respective parties).

They must switch positions except on the condition that they want to examine the witness or cross examine provided a witness box is made available.

High Courts and Supreme Courts are so well organized that there’s a provision made to keep case files while the advocate argues standing.

I don’t know the notion you have about courts because come to think of it, there isn’t enough space to walk around while presenting your case to the judge.

Also advocates while an advocate from one side is arguing or asking queries to witness.

Every advocate involved in arguing in support of the case is to remain standing until the case passes.

Surprise Stay order: Oh! You came to demolish this Jhuggi cluster/slum to make a 5 star hotel/Mall, I have got a piece of paper having a stay against it. Surprised?

No court grants a restraining order without first informing the one for whom the restraining order (also known as stay order is issued).

This is true because the Civil Procedure Code demands it mandatory to not pass a restraining order without giving the opposite party a chance to also state his cause.

Not even when it involves an ex parte ad interim injunction granted in an urgent situation, the opposition still needs to be informed first at least a day or two before such order.

Geeta ki Kasam:

Quit holding on to ancient practices, there’s no  such thing as swearing or taking an oath on Geeta or Quran or Bible or Gangajal anymore.

These practices have been abolished about 40 years ago, and a secular way of talking oath was designed. However, taking oaths isn’t really compulsory as even a person without any formal oath is good to go in court.

PIL in district and Sessions Court:

Now this was clearly played in a movie. I took my time to watch the part 1&2.

In the movie you’ll see Public Interest Litigations (PIL) being contested in District and Sessions bcourtsor Supreme Courts, you’ll even see witnesses appearing in PILs and Appeals! But the truth is Public Interest Litigations are specially reserved for a High Court or Supreme Court.

Life imprisonment means 14 years of imprisonment:

A man was once sentence to prison for a murder crime, but only got bailed by family members after 4 years of being in custody.

Out of curiosity, a family member of the accused asked me a question. He said, since the accused already spent four years in custody, won’t it be reduced from his final sentence eventually. Then I replied saying a case involving murder will possibly attract the death penalty or life imprisonment, and I asked him, how would four years deducted from the sentence change anything?

Surprisingly, he said, but I thought life imprisonment equals 14 years in prison. I laughed so hard at this and asked where he got such information from. Answering, he said from Hindi films.

Finally, I had to explain to him that life imprisonment does not mean 14 years in prison as depicted in the Hindi films he watched, but that it means such accused will spend his entire life behind bars.

This misconception may be possibly perceived to be true by many others, not only this man.

The position of the Supreme Court states that life imprisonment is imprisonment for the remainder of one’s life.

A fleeing thief can be shot by police/public in chase:

This is very wrong, but like others I would blame it on falsehood spread by movies.

A cop should under no circumstance shoot at a suspected thief in public chase, as it could lead to the death of the suspected thief and will be more painful if such person is innocent.

A police officer should only shoot if an offender escapes from custody or is trying to evade arrest.

“Assault”

The word”assault” is usually conceived by many people as inflicting severe body injuries or when a person is brutally beaten to a pulp.

Therefore, assault can be re-defined to mean non verbal threatening by action other than what is generally conceived by many.

There are more legal myths! However these make the top on my list.

What does day for day mean in jail?

Day for day is a prison program where an inmate gets a one day credit for every day they spend in jail. Inmates can then apply the credit on their sentence to reduce the time they have to serve behind bard.

How is jail time calculated?

Jail time is calculated by deducting the number of daily credits earned and the time already served from the actual prison sentence duration which was pronounced by the judge during sentencing.

How many hours is a day in prison?

Prisons operate just like every other typical day. 24 hours in prison is the same thing as 24 hours outside prison. However, earned credits and time off may be applied to reduce an inmate’s sentencing duration.

Do you only serve half your sentence?

Most prisoners are required to serve their full sentence. In a few cases, some prisoners serve a portion of their sentience behind bars while the rest is served outside as they try to reintegrate into the society.

The reintegration period is often referred to as a probation period and these ex-convicts are assigned probation officers who will monitor their behaviour and how the cope with reintegration.

Do you get credit for time served in jail?

Inmates who are sentenced for an offence will get credits for the time already served either in the prison or at a remand centre.

What is good time served in jail?

A good time served in jail is the total time an inmate spends in jail without causing problems, fighting other inmates or participation in violent activities.

Inmates who apply for an early release program will be reviewed based on the amount of good time they have served while incarcerated.

How do inmates get home after being released?

When an inmate is released, they are issued bus tickets to their final destinations. The department of operations issues tickets based on the inmate’s address on file, and provides bus tickets for all the routes that must be travelled by the inmate on their way home.

Why do prisoners only serve half their sentence?

Most prisoners only serve an average of half the duration of their sentence because of good behaviour. Inmates who demonstrate violent behaviour are remanded until they show some positivity and prove beyond doubt that they are ready to become responsible citizens.

Can a prisoner be released early for good Behaviour?

Yes. A lot of prisoners get released early because of good behaviour. The prison is a correctional system and once an inmate proves that they have learned their lesson, they are reviewed by the early release committee.

Keeping an inmate locked up costs the government a significant amount of money on a daily basis. This is why from time to time, eligible inmates who have served a specific number of years behind bars become eligible to apply for an early release.

How long will I serve a 12 month sentence?

An inmate who is sentenced for a duration of 12 months will be incarcerated for 6 months. Upon reaching the half way mark, the inmate is released conditionally.

Can a judge change his mind after sentencing?

A judge can change their mind after a sentencing is pronounced, as long as they have not signed the order of the pronouncement.

Does writing a letter to the judge help?

Writing a letter to a judge can create a dicey situation. For an inmate who has been sentenced, it can be a shot worth taking especially as you’ve got nothing to lose.

If the trial is still ongoing, the judge may decide to not read the letter in order to avoid bias or anything that will cloud their minds in the proceedings.

If an accused person has any message for the judge, it is advised to communicate with your lawyer, because a lawyer has an easier access to a judge and can pass your message easily.

How do you convince a judge to not go to jail?

You cannot convince a judge about their decision to send you to jail. On the other hand, you can hire a professional attorney who will argue your case and stress on the need for you to stay outside jail.

How soon do you go to jail after sentencing?

After a sentencing, you will immediately get remanded by the bailiff who will put you in their custody until you are transferred to the police or and correctional officers who will take you to prison.

Can a judge reverse his own decision?

A judge can reverse his decision if new tangible evidence that surfaces proves beyond doubt that the initial decision is flawed.

What is credit time served?

Credit time served is the time an inmate has spent in jail or at a remand centre while awaiting bail or a judge’s final sentencing.

When an inmate is finally sentenced, they are given credits for the time already spent in jail. The number of days they have spent while remanded are removed from the total duration of the sentencing.

Does parole count as time served?

Parole time does not count as time served in prison. Parole time which is also called probation time is the time assigned for the reintegration of an inmate back into society.

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