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Common Sentences

The following is a list of types of common sentences for a defendant convicted of a crime.

Conditional Discharge
The defendant is released under certain conditions, like paying money back, going to a drug, anger management, job training or GED program, or paying a fine. If any of the conditions are not met, the defendant may be re-sentenced to a jail or prison.

Fine
When a defendant is fined, he or she can either pay the fine or go to jail. A defendant may also have to pay a fine in addition to a conditional discharge, probation, or imprisonment sentence.

Probation
The defendant is supervised by the Department of Probation for a number of years and may have to follow certain conditions, like paying money back, going to a drug, anger management, job training or GED program, or paying a fine.

Restitution
A defendant is ordered to pay the victim back for a loss that happened because of the crime. Restitution can be a condition of probation or a conditional discharge. Learn more about Restitution.

Unconditional discharge
The defendant is sentenced and released without the Judge setting any conditions on his or her release.

Imprisonment
The defendant is sent to a prison or jail for a certain amount of time.

Indeterminate and Determinate Sentences
A defendant may get an indeterminate sentence. This means the defendant is sentenced to a minimum and maximum jail time, like 3-5 years. The exact time depends on if the defendant behaves in jail and/or his or her following the sentencing conditions. A determinate sentence means that the defendant is sentenced for a fixed length of time, like 5 years.

Split sentence
A split sentence, sometimes called shock probation, is when part of the sentence is served in jail and the rest is served on probation. For example, the defendant goes to jail for 6 months or less for a felony (less than the minimum sentence), and is then released on probation and is supervised by the Department of Probation for a number of years and must follow certain conditions.

Concurrent sentence
If the defendant is currently serving another sentence, or is convicted of more than one crime or on more than one indictment, he or she serves a concurrent sentence when the punishments run at the same time. A concurrent sentence can be combined with a consecutive sentence.

Consecutive sentence
If the defendant is currently serving another sentence, or is convicted of more than one crime or on more than one indictment, he or she serves a consecutive sentence when each punishment runs one right after the other. A consecutive sentence can be combined with a concurrent sentence.

Repeat offenders
A repeat offender is a defendant who has been convicted of a felony in the past. There are predicate felons, persistent violent felons and persistent felons:

  • A predicate felon is a person convicted of a felony within 10 years of a past felony conviction. There is a sharp increase in the minimum sentence that a Judge can order for a predicate felon.
  • A persistent violent offender will have a longer minimum sentence for a 2nd or 3rd violent crime. First-time violent offenders may be sentenced between 1 - 25 years depending on the class of violent felony committed. Second-time violent offenders may be sentenced between 3 - 25 years. Third-time violent felons are persistent felony offenders and can be sentenced to life imprisonment.
  • A persistent felony offender is a person found guilty of a felony after 2 or more past felony convictions. After a hearing, Judges can sentence persistent felony offenders to life imprisonment, even if the maximum sentence is less.
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