How Split and Suspended Sentences Work

How do suspened sentences work? What does "1-0-2 mean?" There are a few different types of sentence structures a court can impose on a defendant following a conviction: fines, unconditional discharge, conditional discharge, probation, jail or a combination of differen types. A court can suspend the execution of a sentence, meaning that the jail term will end or not start until another condition occurs. 

Fines and Imprisonment

A court can impose a sentence of fines and/or jail. If the jail sentence is flat (or "straight") time, it will start immediately and will be over when the term of imprisonment is complete. 

Unconditional Discharge

An unconditional discharge is essentially a warning. There is no jail, fine or period of probation or conditional discharge or any other obligation on the defendant. This is often used in a sentencing package when there are multiple charges and convictions but can stand on its own. 

Conditional Discharge and Probation

There are two major types of court-ordered supervision: conditional discharge and probation. In both the court sets conditions the defendant must follow. Probation is a period of monitoring, by Adult Probation of the Court Support Services Division. For a conditional discharge ("C.D."), the defendant is on his or her own to follow the court's conditions and is not monitored by Probation.

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Suspended Sentences

A jail sentence can be suspended in its entirety or in part. When a sentence is suspended entirely, the defendant does not go to jail right away. These are often said as "(Time) suspended, (time of) conditional discharge/probation." They are usually written along the lines of "1-0-2." Suspended sentences include a first number, which is the time hanging (suspended) over the defendant. The third number is the period of supervision, which is a conditional discharge or probation. During that time, the defendant must comply with certain conditions. Violation of those conditions may lead to a charged Violation of Probation or Coditional Discharge for which the suspended portion is the potential punishment. 

Split Sentences

A split sentence is is a suspended sentence that includes some jail time. An example is five years suspended after two (5-2-3), three years probation. In that sentence, the jail term would be two years (the executed part). After the jail is served, the unexecuted part of the sentence--three years (because two of the five were served)--hangs over as the potential sentence for a violation of probation (VOP). 

Parole and Special Parole

Parole is not part of a court's sentence but a period of monitoring for a defendant who is released from prison early. It is monitored by the Department of Correction and Board of Parole. The Board of Parole determines release for parole-eligible sentence, which are those that are more than two years of prison. Special Parole is a period of monitoring that a court imposes as part of a sentence that is monitored by DOC and Parole, not probation. Violations of Special Parole are handled by those authorities that well in an administrative rather than judicial process. 


Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney

Attorney Christopher DeMatteo has considerable experience defending individuals charged with crimes in Connecticut. He and his clients work together to identify an then achieve each client's goals. Attorney DeMatteo offers free case strategy sessions. Call or email him to schedule a strategy session today.