suspended sentence

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Definition - What does suspended sentence mean?

A suspended sentence is a legal mandate that postpones a formal conviction of incarceration indefinitely on the premise that the defendant adheres to terms stipulated in a court ruling by a presiding judge. The basis for a suspended sentence is to allow first-time offenders of certain misdemeanors, for example, possession of marijuana, to avoid a conviction of a prison sentence that stands as a permanent mark on a criminal record.

SureHire explains suspended sentence

After hearing a case, a judge decides to suspend the imposition or the execution of a sentence based on federal and state law jurisdictions that dictate the extent of punishment rendered to a defendant. A suspended sentence can be designated as a conditional or unconditional sentence, reflecting the seriousness of the crime followed by the defendant’s adherence to judicial orders under probation to demonstrate lawful behavior. Moreover, mandatory sentencing laws are legal statutes that override a judge’s vested power to apply the imposition or execution rule, especially violations of drug possession exceeding a certain amount.

Although a suspended sentence is a mitigating factor in avoiding a permanent criminal history, a routine background check can disclose suspended sentences of a violation absent of any conviction. In plea bargain cases, prosecutors invoke suspended sentences depending on jurisdictional authority where punishment is commensurate with the nature of the offense. However, a guilty plea entry can still appear in court documents following successful completion of probationary programs that might otherwise pose a barrier against future career opportunities.

Because state laws vary, a suspended sentence is a caveat that can mean the difference between landing a position or job refusal in a particular field of discipline. For instance, driving under the influence (DUI) carries legal repercussions that can preclude employment which involves operating a commercial motor vehicle, even if a conviction does not ensue. A criminal defense lawyer can help illustrate a suspected sentence and the relevant state laws underpinning the judicial system that determine lenient or stringent measures. For example, some courts permit diversionary programs such as community service or drug rehabilitation as an extenuating circumstance.

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