suspended sentence | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Courts

A suspended sentence refers to a legal sentence in which a convicted offender is not immediately required to serve a term of imprisonment but instead is placed on probation and must comply with specific conditions or face imprisonment.

When a person is convicted of a crime, the judge may choose to suspend the imposition of a sentence of imprisonment and instead place the offender on probation for a specified period of time. During this period, the offender must comply with certain conditions, such as attending counseling or treatment programs, refraining from drug or alcohol use, staying away from certain people or places, and regularly reporting to a probation officer.

If the offender violates the terms of probation, the judge may revoke the suspension and require the offender to serve the original sentence of imprisonment. However, if the offender successfully completes the probation period, the sentence of imprisonment may be waived entirely.

Suspended sentences are often used as a way to provide offenders with a second chance to avoid imprisonment and reintegrate into society, while still holding them accountable for their actions. They may be granted for a variety of offenses, including non-violent crimes, first-time offenses, and offenses committed by juveniles.

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Last Modified: 03/14/2023


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