When you are convicted of a crime, it is the responsibility of the judge to pass the sentence. The judge can either give you a jail sentence or suspend it and put the offender on probation instead. This provides the basis for understanding the meaning and application of suspended imposition of sentences.
When you hire a professional lawyer, he will represent you in court and help you to understand the sentencing options that you have. The judge can either suspend part of the sentence or the whole of it. He will either put you on unsupervised or supervised probation.
Suspended imposition of the sentence remains to be one of the best alternatives to serving length prison or jail terms. If the judge suspended the entire prison or jail time, you won’t serve any time. If he suspends part of the prison or jail sentence, you will serve part of the time incarcerated.
This implies serving the remaining part of the time on probation. After successfully completing the probation period, the court will consider that sentence for the crime served.
What Is A Suspended Imposition Of Sentence?
Discussing this topic without looking at the meaning of suspended imposition of the sentence makes no sense. After conviction in the criminal court, the judge can sentence you to probation, jail term, or a combination of the two.
A suspended imposition of sentence i.e. SIS gives the defendant an opportunity to be put on probation for a certain period of time without getting an actual sentence from the judge.
If the defendant fulfills the terms of the probation successfully, the court will consider that as a sentence served. Most people consider probation as a more lenient ruling because the defendant will not be serving prison time.
In case the defendant violates the probation that he is given, there are two options that are available to the judge:
1. Reinstate The Probation
This option allows the judge to put the offender back on probation. He can order additional penalties, conditions, and restrictions on the probation. It is at the discretion of the judge and the circumstances that are behind the violation.
2. Impose A Sentence
This option is more severe because the judge may decide to impose the sentence that could have been ordered when he was granting probation. The judge can revoke the probation and order that you serve the remaining of your sentence time in jail.
When Is A Suspended Imposition Of Sentence An Option For Your Case?
A defendant can request for a suspended imposition of sentence. Even though anyone can request this option, it is at the discretion of a judge to grant it. Therefore, it is good to understand that it is not a right.
Several reasons can make the judge grant you probation in lieu. In most cases, the judge or prosecutor can grant the suspended imposition of the sentence when the defendant;
- Has a very minimal criminal history
- Doesn’t have a criminal history
- Would experience a loss of business or employment
- Would experience losing professional or educational certification or degree
However, if your criminal history is extensive or you have been convicted of a violent crime, there is less possibility that the judge will be lenient on you. In such a case, it is almost certain that you will serve a jail term.
Does The Imposition Of Sentence Have Any Requirements?
If the judge grants the offender probation, it doesn’t mean that he is clear and free until the probationary period is over. You can still face jail time if you decide to violate the probation terms.
The judge can order the defendant to receive supervised or unsupervised probation. Each of them has its own conditions and restrictions.
For the less serious criminal cases, the unsupervised cases may require you to abstain from alcohol and drugs, commit no other crime, or stay within the state boundaries.
If the crime is more serious, the judge may grant you a supervised probationary period. What this means is that the probation will have restrictive conditions like:
- Maintain regular employment
- Losing the right to own a firearm
- Daily curfew
- Mandated counseling sessions
- Regular visits by a probation officer
- Random drug testing etc.
Does A Suspended Sentence Have Any Limitations?
After you are granted probation, it is good to understand that you can still face jail time. If you violate any of the terms in the probation, the judge can decide to impose a jail term. He imposes the sentence in line with the amount that is allowable for the original crime that was committed.
It is also good to note that the suspended imposition of the sentence doesn’t remove the conviction from the record of the offender completely. Even though it can be hidden from the public, it isn’t hidden from the law enforcement agencies.
For instance, you may be granted a suspension imposition for driving under the influence charge. After some years, you could also be charged with another case for DUI. The court will consider this to be a second offense.
Requirements Of A Person Serving A Suspended Sentence
If you get a suspended sentence and you are placed on unsupervised probation, the court will usually impose certain conditions on you. These may include obeying all laws, new arrests, no use of alcohol or drugs, or being blocked from leaving a country or state.
The defendant has to abide by all the conditions without reporting to a probation officer. This is a common sentence in misdemeanor cases.
If you are placed on a supervised suspended imposition of a sentence, you will have to abide by all the terms of the supervised probation. You may be directed to report to a probation officer, treatment like counseling, not associating with known felons or criminals, no weapons, maintain employment, no new arrests, submit random drug tests, or comply with curfew requirements among others.
Suspended imposition of sentence is a more lenient sentence than serving a jail term. However, if you violate the terms of probation, the judge has a right to revoke it and give you a jail term for the remaining period. It is good to consult an attorney to know whether you qualify for probation or not.