What is a Suspended Sentence in Georgia?
It is becoming common in Georgia for defendants to be given suspended terms as part of their sentence. For example, if a defendant pleads guilty to Assault and Battery, he may be sentenced to five years of probation and a three-year suspended sentence. This means that he will have to do five years of probation and, if that is done successfully, then his sentence will be over.
However, if he has a probation violation, he can be sentenced to serve not only part of his five probated years in prison but also part of his suspended sentence. That would subject him to a potential prison sentence of eight years, rather than the five years that he has left on probation.
Suspended Sentence and Extended Jail Time
This scenario is made worse as the crime gets more severe. If a defendant is sentenced for something like Armed Robbery and gets a 10-year sentence with 10 years additional suspended time then that 10-year suspended sentence can be invoked at any time in the future if the defendant has any new charges. A suspended sentence can therefore be like a loaded weapon that is constantly aimed at a defendant’s head, and it can follow him throughout his life.
Not a “Get Out of Jail Free” Card
Many criminal lawyers will try and convince their clients to take pleas that include suspended sentences because their clients “won’t have to serve that time.” However, a suspended sentence follows you for the rest of your life, and the State can invoke it at any time. This could mean sending you to prison for several years. Before you agree to any plea deal, consult with a Georgia criminal defense lawyer who knows the ins and outs of suspended sentences.