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What is a suspended sentence in a criminal case?


Being sentenced to a jail term can be horrifying. However, it is possible to avoid spending time in prison with a suspended sentence or probation. As the name suggests, a suspended sentence means that you will not do time behind bars.

However, not everyone is eligible for suspended sentences. It is usually reserved for non-violent offenders who do not pose a risk to the community and meet certain requirements under the law.

A suspended sentence comes with some conditions

When the court imposes a suspended sentence, it must have decided that the offense deserves more than a fine or community service – but less than incarceration. However, since you will not be going to prison, you have to abide by the requirements set by the judge, such as not breaking the law during the duration of your suspended sentence.

Other conditions may include:

  • Staying away from certain places and people (known offenders, drug houses)
  • Attending rehabilitation or educational programs (like detox or AA)
  • Remain a resident at a specified address (such as a group home
  • Periodically reporting to a probation officer (and all that entails)

Should you breach the terms of your suspended sentence, you may end up in jail to serve the remaining time.

A suspended sentence will still go to your criminal record since it is a sentence like any other. This can come back to haunt you years later, even after you have served your sentence.

Getting help in your criminal case

Avoiding a conviction is the best case scenario when facing criminal charges. This can be achieved with a well-crafted defense. However, a suspended sentence may be the best deal on the table sometimes. 

For a favorable outcome of your case, it is advisable to get legal guidance on the best way forward as soon as possible. The proper guidance will help you make the right decisions while safeguarding your interests during your trial.

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