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Suspended Sentence: The Way to Avoid Going to Jail

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Rather than send someone to jail, judges sometimes hand down suspended sentences. This is normally done for first-time offenders accused of relatively minor crimes. There are different types of suspended sentences that can be used, and the type suggested by a judge will generally depend upon the totality of the circumstances.

Suspended Imposition of Sentence

A suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) occurs whenever a court places an individual on probation. The judge will in essence delay handing down a jail sentence until the terms of that probation order have been fulfilled. If that individual violates his probation, the judge will be able to sentence that person for the crime previously committed. If the terms of probation are completed satisfactorily, the crime is “forgiven,” which means a conviction will not remain on one’s record.

Suspended Execution of Sentence

A suspended execution of sentence (SES) is similar to an SIS in many ways. It results in the defendant being placed on probation in lieu of serving jail time. Should that person revoke probation, a jail sentence will automatically ensue. Before handing down this type of suspended sentence, the judge will predetermine the amount of time one will be required to serve upon revocation. Certain other conditions such as counseling for a drug charge may be required from the accused. After completing the terms of probation, individuals who obtain an SES will nonetheless have a conviction remaining on their record.

Who Might be Eligible?

According to the Texas Penal Code, A number of factors play a part in determining whether a judge will hand down a suspended sentence. A few of those factors include:

  • Age of the offender
  • Prior criminal history
  • Type of offense
  • Amount of jail time the offense usually carries
  • Likelihood that the defendant will comply with the terms of probation

When Can a Judge Grant a Suspended Sentence?

Judges must follow certain guidelines when imposing suspended sentences. In order to do this, there must be a local law that specifically gives this power to sentencing officials. If a mandatory sentencing law applies to a particular offense, a suspended sentence may not be possible. There are usually limits to the amount of time one can spend on probation, which means that suspended sentences must make allowance for this.

Suspended sentences provide individuals who have committed minor offenses the opportunity to learn from their mistakes without significant damage to their reputations. Attorneys can sometimes negotiate suspended sentences when working out plea agreements.

For more information about suspended sentences, those in the Houston area can call attorney Brett A. Podolsky at 713-227-0087.

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