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Criminal defense: what is a suspended sentence?

Perhaps, the biggest concern amongst Michigan residents facing criminal charges is the potential for jail or prison time. Their fear is not unfounded. Many crimes carry penalties, including lengthy incarceration, that can devastate their personal and professional lives, and shatter their hopes for the future. However, to obtain a better understanding of the potential penalties they are facing and to better prepare themselves for plea bargain negotiations, should they choose to engage in such negotiations, those facing criminal charges should learn about the different types of sentencing they may face.

This week we will look at suspended sentences. When a judge sentences an individual, he or she has the option to suspend part or all of that individual’s sentence. This means that the individual may not actually serve time in jail or prison. Suspended sentences are typically reserved for low-level offenses and first time offenders, and there are typically conditions attached to them.

Conditional suspended sentences attempt to keep individuals on good behavior for a significant period of time. Examples of conditions imposed on a suspended sentence include participation in substance abuse treatment, refraining from committing other offenses and complying with the terms of probation.

Failure to abide by the conditions could land the individual in prison or jail, with the suspended sentence becoming unsuspended. The individual will then have to serve out their entire sentence.

There are many sentencing options available to a judge, and there are even many types of suspended sentences. To learn more about sentencing and other penalties as they relate to a particular crime, Kalamazoo residents should consider seeking the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Such an attorney may be able to advise as to whether lesser penalties can be negotiated or the likelihood of challenging the charges, perhaps, even beating them.

Source: FindLaw.com, “Suspended Sentences,” accessed on April 1, 2016

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