Determinate and Indeterminate Time Law and Legal Definition

Generally determinate time refers to a fixed time and Indeterminate time refers to time that is not of a definite or fixed duration.

In the context of sentencing, it could refer to the power of the court to specify a minimum period of confinement and a subsequent indeterminate period, provided the aggregate sentence does not exceed the maximum provided by law. During minimum term, the offender will not be eligible for parole or discharge. However the offender may be considered for parole or discharge at any time during the indeterminate period of the sentence.

Example of a State Statute (Idaho )

Idaho Code § 19-2513,Unified sentence.

Whenever any person is convicted of having committed a felony, the court shall, unless it shall commute the sentence, suspend or withhold judgment and sentence or grant probation, as provided in chapter 26, title 19, Idaho Code, or unless it shall impose the death sentence as provided by law, sentence such offender to the custody of the state board of correction. The court shall specify a minimum period of confinement and may specify a subsequent determinate period of custody. The court shall set forth in its judgment and sentence the minimum period of confinement and the subsequent indeterminate period, if any, provided, that the aggregate sentence shall not exceed the maximum provided by law. During a minimum term of confinement, the offender shall not be eligible for parole or discharge or credit or reduction of sentence for good conduct except for meritorious service except as provided in section 20-223(f), Idaho Code. The offender may be considered for parole or discharge at any time during the indeterminate period of the sentence and as provided in section 20-223(f), Idaho Code.

If the offense carries a mandatory minimum penalty as provided by statute, the court shall specify a minimum period of confinement consistent with such statute. If the offense is subject to an enhanced penalty as provided by statute, or if consecutive sentences are imposed for multiple offenses, the court shall, if required by statute, direct that the enhancement or each consecutive sentence contain a minimum period of confinement; in such event, all minimum terms of confinement shall be served before any indeterminate periods commence to run.

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