Breach of a suspended sentence

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Breach of a suspended sentence
  • What is a suspended sentence order?
  • When are suspended sentence orders available?
  • Court supervision of a community requirement of a suspended sentence order
  • Breach of a suspended sentence
  • Powers of the court to amend a suspended sentence order
  • Procedure for dealing with breach of a suspended sentence
  • Sentencing for breach of suspended sentences offences
  • Breach by committing further offences
  • Where the court considers it would be unjust to activate the sentence
  • More...

Breach of a suspended sentence

This Practice Note reflects the procedural code for sentencing offenders in England and Wales (Sentencing Code) that applies from 1 December 2020, as set out in Parts 2–13 of the Sentencing Act 2020 (SA 2020). For those considering whether the Sentencing Code applies to their case, see Practice Note: Sentencing Code.

What is a suspended sentence order?

A suspended sentence order is an order providing that a sentence of imprisonment (or detention in a young offender institution) in respect of an offence is not to take effect unless:

  1. the offender commits another offence in the United Kingdom during the operational period of the order, or

  2. the offender contravenes any community requirement imposed by the order during the ‘supervision period’ of the order, and

  3. a court having power to do so subsequently orders that the sentence is to take effect

The sentence of imprisonment is thereby ‘suspended’ until the period specified in the order has passed, when it will have been served. If, in the meantime, the offender breaches the sentence they can find themselves back before the court having a custodial sentence imposed upon them. See further below: Breach of a suspended sentence.

It is not possible to impose a community order at the same time as suspending a sentence but a suspended sentence order may specify one or more applicable community requirements as

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