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.

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)

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
At Manchester Crown Court in September, Berriman, of Oldham, Lancashire, was given a two-year suspended sentence but that was referred by Attorney General Jeremy Wright as being unduly lenient.
Kirk Mark Tranchard, 25, of Tan y Graig, Newtown, got a two-year suspended sentence at Mold Crown Court on August 20.
Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday that Mohammed Aslam was given the suspended sentence after he was convicted of assaulting Thomas Fletcher in November 2012 in Huddersfield.
He said the previous suspended sentence had given him one final opportunity, but added: "You have thrown that chance back in the court's face.
Mr Mochrie urged the judge to follow the recommendation of a pre-sentence report of a suspended sentence with a curfew.
At the Magistrates Court Deputy District Judge Paul Conway imposed a sentence of six months on Harkin and put into effect consecutively a five-month suspended sentence imposed for his similar previous offending.
DARREN BRADLEY, of LEY, of LEY Johnson Avenue, Prescot: 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.
Graham was given an eight months suspended sentence, 150 hours unpaid work, placed on a curfew and ordered to pay compensation.
Islamist TV presenter Khaled Abdullah has been sentenced to a suspended sentence of three years in prison and subject to a fine of EGP 10,000.
The Emirati, accused of drinking alcohol and insulting and hitting one of the Egyptians, was given a Dh500 fine and a suspended sentence for the alcohol charge, the report by The National said.
The suspended sentence means that if he choses to participate in any of the village's regular non-violent protests, which he used to lead, Tamimi will be arrested and forced to serve the remainder of his suspended sentence in prison.