Law Office of Michael L. Fell
900 Roosevelt Irvine, CA 92620
(949) 585-9055

Understanding the Complications of a Split Sentence in California

When a person is convicted of a crime and sentenced, there are several sentencing options. One of them is a split sentence. Keep reading to learn what this means, who might be facing this situation, and how Law Office of Michael L. Fell can help you. Then call us at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation.

Suspended Sentences

First, let us consider what a suspended sentence is. It refers to a sentence in which the judge sentences a person to jail or prison but then says they will not impose that sentence if the defendant instead serves that time successfully on probation.

If the defendant is able to do that, then the sentence will be dismissed, and the defendant will not have to go into custody. On the other hand, if the defendant does not comply, then they will have their original sentence imposed.

This is different from deferred sentencing in that a deferred case means that if the defendant successfully completes the terms as outlined by the judge, then the case is dismissed and does not show up on their criminal record. With a suspended sentence, the defendant would still have the conviction on their permanent record, they would just not serve time for it.

Split Sentences

A split sentence would be worded similarly to this, “ten-year sentence with five suspended.” This means that the person has been sentenced to ten years in jail or prison. However, the judge is allowing the defendant to serve just five years, with the other five years suspended.

As is true in any suspended case, if the defendant then serves those five post-prison years while following the rules as outlined by the court, then they do not have to go back to prison. On the other hand, if they do violate the terms of their probation in the suspended portion of their sentence, then they will go back to prison for the rest of their sentence. This is what is known as a split sentence.

What Options Are Best for the Charges You Are Facing?

A split sentence can be one that a judge orders or one that comes from negotiations between a criminal defense attorney and the prosecution. Either way, it is sometimes best for the client because it means they can serve less time in prison. In other cases, no amount of time in prison is acceptable.

The right way to move forward in any particular case depends largely on the specifics of the crime and the evidence. If you would like more insight into your particular situation, then we welcome you to contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 for a free legal consultation.