In Massachusetts, a suspended sentence is when a sentence is “hanging over your head” for a period of probation. If you violate probation, the suspended sentence can be imposed.
For example, let’s say you were sentenced to two years in the house of correction suspended for two years of probation. You do not go to jail, but instead you are placed on probation for two years. If you complete the probation, you stay out of jail. However, if you violate probation, the judge has two options – either put you back on probation or give you two years in the house of correction.
This is unlike “straight” probation, when the judge can choose whatever sentence they want to impose upon a violation of probation.
A suspended sentence in Massachusetts has advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, you know the potential sentence if you violate probation up front. On the other hand, if you violate probation, the judge has no choice but to impose the suspended sentence.
Before accepting any plea, you should also be careful to avoid probation conditions that are overbearing. If you cannot abide by the probation conditions, you should not accept a plea offer.
If you’re considering taking a suspended sentence, it’s critical to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. I am available for a free initial consultation by phone or text at (617) 295-7500. My office is in Boston, but I practice criminal defense all throughout Massachusetts.