What is a suspended sentence?

What is a suspended sentence?


A “suspended sentence” is a sentence of full-time imprisonment, but suspended, on condition that the offender enters into a bond to be of good behaviour for the period of the bond.

In NSW, a suspended sentence is otherwise known as a”section 12 suspended sentence”, as it falls under section 12 of the Crimes (Sentencing and Procedure) Act 1999. This is the sentencing legislation in NSW that largely governs sentencing procedure in NSW.


Will I go to jail on a suspended sentence? What happens if I breach my suspended sentence?


You will not go to jail if you are sentenced to a suspended sentence. Whilst it is technically considered as a sentence of full-time imprisonment, you will not go straight to jail if you are sentenced in this way. However, should you commit another offence whilst you are on the suspended sentence, or fail to comply with any other condition of the suspended sentence that is imposed on you, there is a likelihood that the court will revoke your suspended sentence and send you to jail. The procedure is that the original sentencing court that sentenced you to the suspended sentenced will “call up” the bond, and have it brought before that court for re-sentencing.

Judges and Magistrates do not like it when you breach the suspended sentence that they themselves imposed!


What type of offences could I get a suspended sentence for?


Suspended sentences can be imposed for a variety of offences. Much will depend on the offender’s criminal record (if any), and the seriousness of the offence. Usually traffic offences will not attract a sentence of jail but suspended, however they can sometimes be imposed in circumstances where someone is a repeat offender.

For example, if someone has committed a middle range drink driving offence (0.08-0.149) a few times over a relatively short period, the court can consider that the only option the court has to punish the offender is to impose a sentence of full time imprisonment. The court then has the discretion to suspend the sentence, on the condition that the offender enters into a bond to be of good behaviour.


Is a suspended sentence considered lenient?


A suspended sentence is NOT a lenient sentence. It is a sentence of imprisonment. However if a judge or magistrate sentences someone to a suspended sentence, they are usually warned of how serious a sentence it is, and any breach whatsoever would lead them to prison. A suspended sentence is a sentence that the courts consider does promote deterrence.


What do I do if I get a suspended sentence?


If you have been sentenced to a suspended sentence, and you feel that it is too harsh, call a Criminal Lawyer immediately.

Here at LY Lawyers we have successfully appealed countless suspended sentences for those who were harshly treated  by the courts.

For more information on suspended sentences, and case studies where we achieved suspended sentences for our clients, go to:


Call us for a consultation on 1300 595 299.