An Essential Guide to Suspended Sentences: When are they an option?

PUBLISHED ON December 23, 2020

When an offender is given a prison sentence of between 14 days and two years (or six months in the magistrates’ court), the judge or magistrates may choose to suspend the sentence for up to two years. This means that the offender does not go to prison immediately but is given a chance to stay out of trouble and comply with up to 13 requirements set by the court.

These requirements could include:

  • doing unpaid work
  • being subject to a curfew
  • undertaking a treatment programme for alcohol or drugs, and
  • being subject to a rehabilitation activity requirement.

If the offender does not comply with the requirements or is convicted of another offence during the time of their suspended sentence, they are likely to serve the original custodial term as well as the sentence they get for the new offence.

When is a Suspended Sentence a Suitable Option?

The following factors should be weighed in considering whether it is possible to suspend the sentence.

Factors indicating that it would not be appropriate to suspend a custodial sentence

  • Offender presents a risk/danger to the public
  • History of poor compliance with court orders
  • Appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody

Factors indicating that it may be appropriate to suspend a custodial sentence

  • Strong personal mitigation
  • Realistic prospect of rehabilitation
  • Immediate custody will result in a significant harmful impact upon others

Do you wish to have a consultation with a Lawyer about the viability of a suspended sentence?

A knowledgeable and experienced criminal lawyer can further answer the question, “What is a suspended sentence,” and outline your full sentencing options. If you wish to learn more about the types of sentences available, be sure to get in touch.

At Hudson Marshall Solicitors, we provide our clients with professional and concise legal advice. Contact us today on 0800 368 9939 to talk with one of our highly experienced lawyers.


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