What Does a Suspended Sentence Mean in NSW?

What Does a Suspended Sentence Mean in NSW?

The main purpose of a suspended sentence is to highlight the seriousness of the offence and the consequence of reoffending, while providing the offender the opportunity to avoid the consequences through good behaviour.

Suspended sentences were introduced to the New South Wales legal system with the idea being that it would give judges more sentencing options and flexibility.

Suspended sentences in New South Wales

The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) lays out how suspended sentences can be applied. The basic principles of suspended sentencing are:

  • A court may make an order for a sentence of less than 2 years to:
    • Suspend execution of the whole sentence not exceeding the term of the sentence
    • Direct that the offender be released from custody on the condition of good behaviour not exceeding the term of the sentence.
  • An order to a sentence of imprisonment cannot be made if the offender is subject to another sentence of imprisonment that is not subject to such an order.
  • An order for suspended sentence may be made after a court has decided not to make a home detention order in relation to a sentence of imprisonment.

Only sentences of imprisonment of less than two years allow for the option of making an order suspending the whole sentence for the length of its term. In this order the court would then specify as a condition of the offenders release they must enter into a good behaviour bond for the term of the sentence.

In New South Wales, it is only possible to receive a full suspended sentence of imprisonment, however under Commonwealth offences there are options for partial suspensions.

Suspended sentence good behaviour bond breaches

A breach of a good behaviour bond for a suspended sentence will most likely result in the suspended sentence being revoked. The only reason that a suspended sentence will not be revoked is if the breach was trivial in nature or there were extenuating circumstances that lead to the breach.

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