Template:Criminal procedure (trial) A suspended sentence is a legal term for a judge's delaying of a defendant's serving of a sentence after they have been found guilty, in order to allow the defendant to perform a period of probation. If the defendant does not break the law during that period, and fulfils the particular conditions of the probation, the judge usually throws out the sentence.
The difference between a suspended sentence and deferred sentence is that a suspended sentence will, more often than not, stay on the defendant's record.
In Australia, suspended sentences are commonly imposed in order to alleviate the strain on overcrowded prisons. For example, an individual may be sentenced to a six months' jail, wholly suspended for one year; if they commit any other offence during that year, the original jail term is immediately applied in addition to any other sentence.
In the United States, it is common practice for judges to hand down suspended sentences to first-time offenders who have committed a minor crime, and for prosecutors to recommend suspended sentences as part of a plea bargain. They are often given to mitigate the effect of penalties.
In some jurisdictions, the criminal record of the guilty party will still carry the offence, even after probation is adequately served. In other cases, the process of deferred adjudication would prevent the conviction from appearing on a person's criminal record, once probation had been completed.
In the federal system, judges' authority to suspend sentences has been abolished, by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, through the United States Sentencing Commission, and upheld by Mistretta v. United States.