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 ?
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC activated the four-month suspended sentence Khan had been given in January for dangerous driving and possessing drugs, with further consecutive sentences totalling an additional two months in jail.
She was jailed for a total of six months for the theft and the breach of the previous suspended sentence.
Steven Bradley, 34, of Kimberly Avenue, St Helens: eight-month suspended sentence and 150 hours' unpaid work.
The suspended sentences mean that verdicts against the defendants won't be carried out unless they commit crimes and are found guilty in the next three years.
18 thousand persons from suspended sentences for different offences, head of President Administration Andro Barnov stated at the
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.
Those handed a suspended sentence are only sent to prison if they violate the terms of their sentencing during that period.
The second and third accused were given suspended sentences of three months and fined QR300 each.
Gudger had a problem with alcohol for years, and Mr Abrahams suggested a suspended sentence with conditions to help him.
23, while eight protesters in Alexandria also facing military trials were found innocent and another seven received one-year suspended sentences.
THE THREE police officers found guilty of a number of charges, including failure to perform their duty, regarding the escape of convicted rapist and murderer Antonis Prokopiou Kitas from a private clinic in December 2008 were yesterday given four to six months suspended sentences.
According to the verdict, Aung San Suu Kyi's two female housemates, Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma, were also freed from the same suspended sentence like Aung San Suu Kyi.