A suspended sentence is a sentence of imprisonment which does not require the offender to actually serve time in a prison, but instead to be placed on a Good Behaviour Order. A breach of that Good Behaviour Order can, however, lead to the imposition of prison time, with the sentence no longer being suspended.
Section 12 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 applies to offenders who are sentenced to imprisonment.
It provides that the court may make an order (a suspended sentence order) suspending all or part of the sentence of imprisonment.
If the court makes a suspended sentence order, the court must also make a good behaviour order for the period during which the sentence is suspended or for any longer period that the court considers appropriate.
A suspended sentence order may be part of a combination sentence (see separate pages) together with other sentencing options.
If the court makes a suspended sentence order fully suspending the sentence of imprisonment, the court must, as soon as practicable after the order is made, ensure that written notice of the order, together with a copy of the order, is given to the offender.
For an offender who is under 18 years old, the notice and order must also be given to a parent or person with parental responsibility, but a failure to do so does not invalidate the suspended sentence order.
Is A Suspended Sentence A Conviction and Will I Have A Criminal Record?
Yes – to be placed on suspended sentence, you first have to be sentenced to period of imprisonment. This means that you have been convicted of the offence, and it will appear on your criminal record.
Interaction with Intensive Correction Orders
Section 80 of the Crimes (Sentencing) Act 2005 provides that a court must not make an Intensive Correction Order with intensive correction to be served concurrently or consecutively with a suspended sentence of imprisonment.
However, a court may make an Intensive Correction Order if an offender is under a suspended sentence order but not in full-time detention and the offender is convicted of an offence that was committed before the offence to which the order relates. If the court makes such an ICO, it must cancel the offender’s suspended sentence order and re-sentence the offender to serve a term of imprisonment by intensive correction.
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