Tag Archives: community order

Can I get a suspended sentence?

A suspended sentence is a term of imprisonment that is suspended so that you do not go into custody immediately.  Further, you will not go into custody if you comply with the conditions attached to the order.

Who can get a suspended sentence?

suspended sentenceIn the Magistrates’ Court, any sentence of 6 months’ imprisonment (12 months for two or more either-way offences) or less can be suspended.  In the Crown Court, any sentence of 24 months or less can be suspended.

The minimum length of imprisonment for a suspended sentence is 14 days.

It follows, therefore, that if your offending is deserving of a sentence above the maximum level, or you are sentenced as a dangerous offender, you will not be able to receive a suspended sentence.

A suspended sentence is also not available for youths.

When can a sentence be suspended?

suspended sentenceThe sentencing court will first consider whether or not a custodial sentence should be imposed.  In legal terms the court decides whether the “custody threshold” has been passed.

If custody of one of the lengths discussed above is imposed, the Court can then move on to decide whether it can be suspended or not.

In considering whether the sentence can be suspended the Court will look at the particular circumstances of the offence and offender and consider a sentencing guideline that applies to this scenario.

Factors to consider would be:

  • whether there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation
  • strong personal mitigation
  • the impact of immediate custody on others.

Mitigating against a suspension would be that

  • the offender is a risk or danger to the public
  • the most appropriate punishment is immediate custody
  • a poor history of compliance with court orders.

How long can it be suspended for?

The sentence of imprisonment can be suspended for a period from six months up to two years.  This is called the ‘operational period’.

What conditions may be imposed?

A sentence is suspended on condition that you do not commit any further offences during the operational period. In some circumstances an order may have that single condition.

Additionally, you can have a suspended sentence order that is subject to further requirements similar to this in a community order. This can include

  • unpaid work
  • a curfew
  • supervision with the Probation Service.

If you are subject to such an order, it is also suspended on condition that you comply with the requirements imposed.

What happens if I breach the order?

You can breach an order by either committing an offence within the operational period or failing to comply with any requirements that are imposed.

The starting point that will be adopted by the court if you are in breach of an order is to activate the period of imprisonment. The length of imprisonment may be reduced to reflect the level of compliance with the order and any of the requirements.

If it is unjust in the circumstances to activate the sentence then the court has other options.   You may be

  • fined for the breach,
  • made subject to further or more onerous requirements
  • the operational period may be extended.

 How can we help?

As well as advising you whether you might be able to receive a suspended sentence, we will also be able to help you put yourself in the best position for the court to treat you leniently.

This process can start as early as advice prior to a police interview under caution.  As a result, if you are arrested or know that the police wish to speak to you about any offence then make sure you insist on your right to free and independent legal advice and ask for VHS Fletchers.

The advantages of such early legal advice can be found here.

If you have already been interviewed or face court proceedings we can still make a real difference to the outcome of your case.  Legal aid may well be available to fund your defence at court.

Some examples of cases where we have helped secure a suspended sentence for our clients can be found here:

Drug Offences

Motoring Offences

Conveying Articles into Prison


 You can find your nearest office here.

suspended sentence
VHS Fletchers offices across the East Midlands

Alternatively you can use the contact form below:




Mansfield road traffic solicitor secures constructive sentence for client

Mansfield road traffic solicitor Tim Haines provided advice and representation to a client facing a custodial sentence for a second drink drive conviction within 8 years.

mansfield road traffic solicitor tim haines
Mansfield Magistrates’ Court

The client’s situation was made worse by the circumstances of the case.  He rolled his car in the early hours of the morning and then abandoned it.  When he provided a sample of breath he was over twice the legal limit to drive.

Tim’s client had been out of trouble for sometime, having put significant difficulties with drink behind him.  Unfortunately, the loss of a close family member meant that he turned once again to drink.  This offence was committed at the end of that period.

An early guilty plea

We provided advice that an early guilty plea would stand our client in good stead at his sentencing date.  Tim also advised that character references should be obtained setting out all of the good work that his client had done on his own behalf to tackle his drinking.  They could also touch on the effect of the bereavement upon him.

Hospice staff were kind enough to provide written confirmation of the closeness of our client and the deceased, and the meetings that they had leading up to his death.

The Magistrates’ were persuaded that there should be some input from the probation service to investigate alternatives to custody.  The probation office liaised with third party agencies who had been assisting our client on a voluntary basis since he was charged with this offence.

A prison sentence was avoided

Careful mitigation that stressed the particular circumstances of this case and our client’s clear intention to put his drinking behind him again mean that he received a community order.  This involved unpaid work.  Supervision was not necessary due to the efforts he was making on his own behalf.

He was of course subject to a lengthy driving disqualification.  This can be reduced if he completes the alcohol impaired drivers course.

Contact a Mansfield road traffic solicitor

Although there are always serious risks involved with any allegation of drink driving there are sometimes compelling circumstances that will allow the court to depart from the expected sentence.  An experienced solicitor such as Tim will provide you with advice as to how best to prepare for sentence, and then try to secure the best outcome through his expert mitigation on your behalf.

In a case such as this, free criminal legal aid might be available for your representation in the Magistrates’ Court dependent upon your means.  We will always give you advice on how best to fund your case.

Mansfield crime solicitor Tim Haines drink drive representation
Mansfield road traffic solicitor Tim Haines

If you wish to discuss your case then please call Tim on 01623 675816 or use the enquiry form below.