suspended sentence

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Suspended Sentence

A sentence given after the formal conviction of a crime that the convicted person is not required to serve.

In criminal cases a trial judge has the ability to suspend the sentence of a convicted person. The judge must first pronounce a penalty of a fine or imprisonment, or both, and then suspend the implementation of the sentence.

There are two types of suspended sentences. A judge may unconditionally discharge the defendant of all obligations and restraints. An unconditionally suspended sentence ends the court system's involvement in the matter, and the defendant has no penalty to pay. However, the defendant's criminal conviction will remain part of the public record. A judge may also issue a conditionally suspended sentence. This type of sentence withholds execution of the penalty as long as the defendant exhibits good behavior. For example, if a person was convicted of shoplifting for the first time, the judge could impose thirty days of incarceration as a penalty and then suspend the imprisonment on the condition that the defendant not commit any crimes during the next year. Once the year passes without incident, the penalty is discharged. If, however, the defendant does commit another crime, the judge is entitled to revoke the suspension and have the defendant serve the thirty days in jail.

Whether a conditionally suspended sentence is considered equivalent or complementary to a Probation order or is considered an entirely distinct legal action depends on the jurisdiction. Under a probation order, the convicted person is not incarcerated but is placed under the supervision of a probation officer for a specified length of time. A person who violates probation will likely have his probation revoked and will have to serve the original sentence.

In some jurisdictions a postponement of sentencing is also considered to be a suspended sentence. A postponement of a criminal sentence means that the judge does not pronounce a penalty immediately after a conviction. Courts use postponement and conditionally suspended sentences to encourage convicted persons to stay out of trouble. In most cases courts will impose these types of conditional sentences for less serious crimes and for persons who do not have a criminal record. Where there is overcrowding in jails, suspended sentences for petty crimes may be used to prevent further congestion.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

suspended sentence

n. in criminal law, a penalty applied by a judge to a defendant convicted of a crime, which the judge provides will not be enforced (is suspended) if the defendant performs certain services, makes restitution to persons harmed, stays out of trouble, or meets other conditions. Should the sentenced party fail to follow these requirements, then the suspended sentence may be enforced. (See: sentence)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

suspended sentence

a sentence of imprisonment that is not put into effect but held over the convicted person on condition he behaves. If he does not, the sentence takes effect. For Scotland, see DEFERRED SENTENCE.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
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Judge Hale said he must address the suspended sentence but in view of Davies' ongoing treatment, and the fact the suspended period was almost up when he committed the attack on his father, he imposed a PS300 fine in relation to the breach.
For example, Keir Irwin-Rogers and Julian Roberts note the dramatic increase in the use of suspended sentence orders in England and Wales, but conclude that in a significant proportion of cases the SSO was applied to offenders who would previously have received a community penalty.
| Carol Manley, from Meirion Place, Tremorfa, Cardiff, was jailed for six months for shoplifting and breaching a suspended sentence and community order
Steven Bradley, 34, of Kimberly Avenue, St Helens: eight-month suspended sentence and 150 hours' unpaid work.
The lawyer said one of the defendants also received another suspended sentence of six months over charges of possessing alcohol, which is banned in Iran.
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Graham was given an eight months suspended sentence, 150 hours unpaid work, placed on a curfew and ordered to pay compensation.
Four Egyptians accused of beating and insulting an Emirati at a hotel were given suspended sentences after the man dropped his case against them, The National reported.
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Jamie Gudger, 26, was still serving a suspended sentence for affray at a previous partner's home.
Member of "No to Military Trials" campaign in Alexandria Evronia Azer confirmed to Daily News Egypt Monday that one of the protesters who received a one-year suspended sentence, Hassan Rohayem, was believed to belong to the dissolved state security apparatus.