Whenever someone has been convicted of a crime, one of the primary questions they will have for their criminal lawyer at Perth Criminal Lawyers, is what punishment they are likely to receive. Obviously, this will depend on a number of factors such as the severity of the crime and their previous criminal record if they have one.
The most commonly known penalties are fines, community orders, and imprisonment, but there are others, and these fall under the category of suspended sentences.
The correct term for them is ‘Suspended Imprisonment Order’, and they basically mean that the offender has been given an imprisonment sentence for their crime, but do not actually have to go to prison. It should be noted that in many Australian states, suspended sentences are not used, however, in Western Australia, they do still exist.
The law is clear when, and when not, it might be appropriate for a suspended sentence to be issued. Should the crime have occurred whilst the offender was already serving a prison sentence, or where they were on parole or other early release order, a suspended sentence cannot be issued.
If the offence would normally mean a prison sentence of fewer than 5 years, or where it is deemed that imprisoning the offender would not be appropriate, a suspended sentence can be considered.
Invariably a suspended imprisonment sentence will be accompanied by an order stating the terms of that sentence with the most obvious one being that the person does not commit any other offences. Should they do so, then they will be ordered to serve the sentence in prison,
While that might be quite easy to understand, suspended sentences are often misunderstood, not only by those who have offended, and by the general public. The public often sees a suspended sentence as the convicted person ‘getting away’ with their crime, and to be fair, that is understandable, albeit, not accurate.
For the person who has received the suspended sentence, the risk for them is that they see it the same way. In other words, they feel they have got away with their wrongdoing, and sadly, as a green light to go back to their life of crime.
Should they do so, and get convicted for a further crime, not only will they almost certainly face imprisonment as per the first sentence, but the sentence for the subsequent crime is likely to be much more severe.
As well as a standard suspended imprisonment order, there is a second type known as a Conditional Suspended Imprisonment order. The important word here is ‘conditional’ as this means that in addition to staying out of trouble, the offended also need to comply with certain other rules and conditions.
The standard ones are that they report within 72 hours of being released to Community Corrections, they must seek permission before leaving Western Australia, and they must also notify any change of circumstances such as their address or place of employment to Community Corrections.
In addition, and depending on the individual and their offence, there are likely to be other conditions which they have to comply with. They could be ordered to remain under a curfew, which restricts their movements, and the times they are allowed outdoors.
They could also be ordered to attend a program that helps rehabilitate them or be made subject to a recognized monitoring and counselling program which helps offenders.