Not everyone that courts issue sentences to goes on to serve those sentences.
In some cases, the court suspends the sentence. How does that work?
Firstly it’s important to realize that not everyone is eligible to ask for this. It’s typically something judges will reserve for minor offenses.
Secondly, the prosecution will likely push for you to serve a sentence. While their key goal is to get a guilty verdict, they also want to show the victims of the crime they represent that they secure the punishment of those found guilty.
A suspension comes with conditions
The judge will set out a list of conditions you must meet to avoid serving the prescribed sentence. Even a minor breach could see you sent away to serve it. Breaches could include failing to turn up to a meeting with a probation officer or picking up a charge for something unrelated, such as a driving offense.
Will it still show on my record?
Yes. Whether you serve a sentence or not, the conviction will show as a criminal record. After all, you can only get a suspended sentence if you are declared guilty, whether by a plea deal or a judge’s verdict.
How can I increase my chance of suspension?
You will need experienced legal helps for this. You’re unlikely to succeed alone. Your legal team can highlight things such as your good character, lack of previous offenses and the voluntary or paid role you’ve fulfilled.
They can also argue that sending you to jail would affect your children, reduce your ability to pay fines and so on. In other words, they will try to convince the judge that suspending your sentence is the best option all around.