||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (September 2008)|
|Criminal trials and convictions|
|Rights of the accused|
|Related areas of law|
A suspended sentence is a legal term for a judge's delaying of a defendant's serving of a sentence after they have been found guilty, in order to allow the defendant to perform a period of probation. If the defendant does not break the law during that period, and fulfills the particular conditions of the probation, the judge usually throws out the sentence.
In Australia, suspended sentences are commonly imposed in order to alleviate the strain on overcrowded prisons. For example, an individual may be sentenced to a six-month jail term, wholly suspended for six months; if they commit any other offence during that year, the original jail term is immediately applied in addition to any other sentence.
The period for which the sentence is suspended cannot exceed the term of the original sentence
United States 
In the United States, it is common practice for judges to hand down suspended sentences to first-time offenders who have committed a minor crime, and for prosecutors to recommend suspended sentences as part of a plea bargain. They are often given to mitigate the effect of penalties.
In some jurisdictions, the criminal record of the guilty party will still carry the offence, even after probation is adequately served. In other cases, the process of deferred adjudication prevents the conviction from appearing on a person's criminal record, once probation had been completed.
In the federal system, judges' authority to suspend sentences has been abolished, by the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, through the United States Sentencing Commission, and upheld by Mistretta v. United States.
See also 
- "Legal Terms in Plain English". AthenLaw.com. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
- "Suspended Sentence Law & Legal Definition". Legal Terms, Definitions, and Dictionary. USLegal.com. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
- "Definitions: Understanding Legal Words". Manitoba Courts. 23 October 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2011.