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Suspended Sentences for Felony and Misdemeanor Charges

Recently my Law Firm represented a man from Braxton, Mississippi who was charged with felony drug possession.  We were able to get the actual owner of the drugs to meet with the District Attorney, and the felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor charge.

My client received a six month suspended sentence with one year unsupervised probation and a $500 fine. While we were delighted with the outcome, I made sure my client knew that if he got into trouble again, the jail sentence would no longer be suspended and he would have to go to jail for the six months.

Suspension is Conditional on Staying Out of Trouble

It is important to know that a suspended sentence is conditional — you will not have to serve time if you follow the judge’s conditions. But if you violate those conditions, you must complete your original jail sentence.

In many cases in the past I have represented individuals charged with felonies who received suspended sentences. Generally, a judge will give suspended sentences to people who seem unlikely to commit additional crimes, such as a first time offender, and the hope is that they will stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a person charged with say felony possession of cocaine to be arrested for an additional drug possession charge before the end of the probationary period.

Getting Arrested Again Can Revoke Suspension

In this case, the arrest is enough for the judge to revoke the suspension of the sentence and impose the original jail sentence. Whether you are ultimately convicted of the second drug possession charge does not matter – just getting arrested is a violation of the sentence suspension.

A suspended sentence does not mean that the conviction will be off your record after the probation period is up. However, it is sometimes possible to get a conviction expunged or sealed after you have successfully completed your probation.

Thomas Alonzo

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