Albemarle Supervisor Chris Dumler will start his 30-day jail sentence next month after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor sexual battery charge on January 31. He will likely be serving that time on weekends, and despite what some may think, it's not uncommon.
Under Virginia law, people convicted of misdemeanor crimes can sporadically serve any potential jail time, including on weekends. NBC29 legal analyst Lloyd Snook says it's not uncommon for people who are employed.
"In our area it's quite common. Judges will do it pretty much routinely as long as somebody's got a job and says 'I need to be able to do this on weekends to keep my job,'" said Snook.
Dumler is on track for serving his time on weekends at this point. It's part of an effort to make sure he doesn't miss any board meetings or business days. Dumler will spend 15 weekends in jail, will have to pay $8 per night for his stay and get a tuberculosis test.
His choice to serve his 30-day sentence only on the weekend presents a burden for the jail staff.
"We would prefer they not serve nonconsecutive sentences," said Lt. Col. Martin Kumer, Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail deputy superintendent.
Each time Dumler checks in and out of jail, he has to be processed again. Kumer says a 30-day weekend stay takes about 30 hours of staff time, versus the 2.5 hours it would take if he served it all at once.
"We have to book that person in, put them through a type of medical triage, issue them new clothing, house them, calculate their sentence through records, calculate their new release date and when their time is up release them to the street, take back their clothes, send them back out - only to do that all over again every single time they report," said Kumer.
Dumler's weekend stays also mean he will not be with the general prison population. He will not be in a cell, but rather will get to stay in a gym, along with other "weekenders," sleeping and watching TV.
Dumler will report to jail on March 8 at 6:30 p.m. Snook says that's a strict 6:30. He often advises his clients to get to the regional jail well ahead of time because if you're late the weekend privilege gets revoked.
Dumler says he will not resign his post as an Albemarle supervisor even after a number of calls for him to step down following his misdemeanor sexual battery conviction.
§ 53.1-131.1. Provision for sentencing of person to nonconsecutive days in jail; payment to defray costs; penalty.
Any court having jurisdiction for the trial of a person charged with a misdemeanor or traffic offense or charged with any offense under Chapter 5 (§ 20-61 et seq.) of Title 20 may, if the defendant is convicted and sentenced to confinement in jail, impose the time to be served on weekends or nonconsecutive days to permit the convicted defendant to retain gainful employment. A person sentenced pursuant to this section shall pay an amount to defray the cost of his keep, which amount shall be the actual cost of incarceration but shall not exceed that amount charged to the Compensation Board for purposes of reimbursement as provided in the general appropriation act. Such amount shall be collected by the sheriff, if he is responsible for operating a jail, or by the regional jail superintendent, and remitted by the sheriff to the treasurer of the appropriate county or city, or by the regional jail superintendent to the regional jail board or authority, solely for the purposes of defraying the costs of such weekend or nonconsecutive incarceration. The funds collected pursuant to this section shall not be used for purposes other than those provided for in this section. The assessment provided for herein shall be in addition to any other fees prescribed by law. If the defendant willfully fails to report at times specified by the court, the sentence imposed pursuant to this section shall be revoked and a straight jail sentence imposed.
If an offender who has been sentenced to nonconsecutive days by the court is in violation of the rules of the jail pursuant to § 53.1-117, the sheriff or jail administrator may require the offender to serve out a portion or the entirety of the remainder of his sentence in consecutive days. Upon revoking the offender's ability to serve his sentence on nonconsecutive days, the sheriff or jail administrator shall notify in writing the court that sentenced the offender and indicate the specific violations that led to the decision.
The time served by a person sentenced for violation of state law in a local jail, regional jail, or local jail farm pursuant to this section shall be included in the count of prisoner days reported by the Department for the purpose of apportioning state funds to local correctional facilities for operating costs in accordance with § 53.1-84.
(1983, c. 172; 1984, c. 490; 1994, c. 901; 1999, c. 9; 2002, cc. 805, 831; 2003, c. 1039; 2006