Suspended Sentence vs Probation: What’s the Difference?





Suspended Sentence vs Probation: What’s the Difference?

A suspended sentence is a sentence on conviction for a criminal offense, where the offender must perform a period of probation between one to three years, resulting in a permanent entry on a criminal record.

Factors That Affect Sentencing

Indicates whether the defendant has entered into an agreement with the prosecution to plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence, or whether he has provided information or assistance to the authorities in investigating or prosecuting the case.
Circumstances that diminish the responsibility or moral culpability of the accused for the offence, such as the fact that he acted because he was forced or coerced to do so, or because he acted in order to prevent serious harm.
Refers to the evidence or arguments presented by both the prosecution and the defence that may have an impact on the sentence, such as evidence of previous bad acts by the defendant or mitigating circumstances such as mental illness or addiction.
Relates to the defendant’s military service, public service or other achievements that may be relevant to their sentence.
For example, mandatory minimums, sentencing guidelines, or prevailing community attitudes towards punishment.
Sentencing may take into account how much an accused has cooperated with law enforcement and other authorities in investigating and prosecuting his case.
The age of the defendant and any physical or mental health problems may be relevant to the court in determining an appropriate sentence. For example, an older defendant or one with a serious health problem may be given a lighter sentence.
The role played by the accused in committing the offence may affect his or her sentence. A principal or a coconspirator may receive a more severe sentence than an accomplice or someone playing a minor role.
A defendant’s financial resources and ability to pay fines or other financial penalties may be taken into account in the determination of an appropriate sentence. The court may have regard to a defendant’s ability to pay compensation to the victim(s) and/or fines to the state.
Sentencing may be influenced by the aim to deter the defendant and others from committing similar offences in the future. A severe sentence may act as a deterrent, while a more lenient sentence may not have the same effect.
The safety and protection of the public is an important consideration in sentencing. If an offender poses a significant threat to public safety, a harsher sentence may be imposed in order to prevent him or her from committing further offences.
The potential for rehabilitation, or the ability to succeed in treatment or training to avoid reoffending, may be taken into account in determining an appropriate sentence.
Sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences set out in state or federal law may be a factor in determining a sentence. The court must follow these guidelines and mandatory minimum sentences, although it may have some discretion in certain cases.
Statutory aggravating circumstances are elements of the crime or the defendant’s conduct that increase the severity of the sentence, while statutory mitigating circumstances are elements that decrease the severity of the sentence.
Public opinion and judges’ or sentencers’ views may influence perceptions of harshness of particular sentences.
A sentencing factor that may be considered is the extent to which the defendant assisted law enforcement or other authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the crime.
The defendant’s age, mental health and physical health may be relevant to the sentencing decision because these factors may have an impact on the defendant’s ability to understand the consequences of their actions and their potential for rehabilitation.
The defendant’s role in committing the offence may also be considered, with those who played a leading or active role often receiving harsher sentences.
This factor relates to specific details and events surrounding the offence, including method used and aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
This factor considers the criminal history of the accused, including any previous convictions, and the history of previous sentences.
This factor takes into account the defendant’s whole background. This includes education, employment, family situation and any history of drug or alcohol abuse.
This factor takes into account the defendant’s demonstration of remorse for the offence committed, including any apologies or expressions of regret.
This factor assesses the physical, emotional and financial harm suffered by the victim(s) as a result of the offence and how the offence has affected their lives.

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