You’ve been convicted of a crime. Or maybe you’ve pled guilty. In either case, it is up to the judge to deliver your sentence. While a judge can sentence you to jail, he or she can also suspend your sentence and instead, put you on probation. For many California defendants, the possibility of a suspended sentence is unfamiliar. This is why it is critical to hire an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney who can explain all of your sentencing options and represent your best interests in front of the judge.
What is a suspended imposition of sentence?
After a California conviction in a criminal court, a judge can sentence a defendant to jail time, probation or in some cases, a combination of jail time and probation. A suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) allows a defendant to be put on probation for a period of time without actually receiving a sentence from the judge. If the defendant successfully fulfills the terms of their probation, the court considers the sentence served. Probation is considered a more lenient ruling since the defendant will not have to serve time in prison.
If the defendant violates their probation, the judge generally has two options:
Reinstate the probation. In this option, the judge can put the defendant back on probation. The judge may order additional restrictions, conditions or penalties on the probation. This is at the discretion of the judge and the circumstances behind the violation.
Impose a sentence. In this more severe option, the judge can decide to impose the sentence that would have been ordered at the time probation was granted. For example, a defendant whose crime called for a maximum sentence of 1 year was granted probation in lieu of jail time. The defendant violated the terms of his probation. The judge has the right to revoke probation and order the defendant to serve the reminder of their sentence in jail.
Schedule your free consultation today. Contact Criminal Defense Lawyer Joni Eisenstein.
Is a suspended sentence an option in your case?
A suspension of sentence can be requested by any defendant; however, this option is not a right and must be granted at the discretion of the judge. The granting of probation in lieu of jail time may be granted for a number of reasons. A prosecutor and judge may be more willing to grant a suspension of sentence in criminal cases where a defendant:
- Does not have a criminal history
- Has a minimal criminal history
- Would experience a loss of employment or business
- Would experience a loss of an educational or professional degree or certification
However, if a defendant has an extensive criminal history or has been convicted of a violent crime, the judge is less likely to be lenient when it comes time to impose a sentence.
Are there any requirements for a suspended sentence?
If a defendant is granted probation, that does not mean that they are free and clear until their probationary period is up. They can still face jail time if they violate the terms of their probation. A defendant may be ordered to receive unsupervised or supervised probation. Each comes with its own restrictions and conditions. For less serious misdemeanor cases, unsupervised probation may require a person to abstain from drugs and alcohol, commit no additional crimes or stay within the boundaries of their state.
For more serious crimes, a defendant may be granted a supervised probationary period that has more restrictive conditions including:
- Random drug testing
- Regular visits with a probation officer
- Mandated counseling sessions
- Daily curfew
- Loss of the right to own a firearm
- Maintaining regular employment
Are there any limitations of a suspended sentence?
Once granted probation, it is important for defendants to know that they can still face jail time. If they violate any of the terms of their probation, the judge has the right to impose jail time, depending on the amount allowed for the original crime.
Another important thing to note about a suspended imposition of a sentence is that it does not completely remove the conviction from your record. While it may be hidden from the public, it is not hidden from law enforcement. For example, you are granted a suspension for a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. Several years down the road, you are charged with another DUI. This would still be considered a 2nd offense in the eyes of the court.
Consult with a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
Do you think you might qualify for a suspended imposition of your California criminal sentence? Contact the Law Office of Joni Eisenstein today to consult with our experienced criminal defense attorney. Joni Eisenstein can inform you of your options and help you achieve the results that you want in your case.
If you are on the fence about hiring a defense attorney, stop thinking about it, and do it now
Hiring a criminal defense attorney like Joni Eisenstein can help you go from a place of uncertainty to freedom.