Time Served Law and Legal Definition

Time served is the period a criminal defendant has been in jail, often while awaiting bail or awaiting trial. Often a judge will give a defendant "credit for time served," particularly when sentencing for misdemeanors. A few states allow credit for time spent on parole or probation.

According the the U.S. Department of Justice, violent offenders released from state prisons in 1992 served 48% of the sentence they had received--an average of 43 months in confinement, both jail and prison, on an average sentence of 89 months.