Criminal Defense Attorney Blog in Los Angeles & Beverly Hills, CA

What is Joint Suspension in a California Criminal Case?

One of the terms that people frequently hears tossed around the corridors of a criminal courthouse are clients asking their attorneys if they can get a “joint suspension.” I’ve found that there is a bit of confusion as to what, exactly, “joint suspension” means.

Here’s the deal:

In California, a court  sentences a defendant to probation in one of two ways, either “Imposition of Sentenced Suspended” and “Executed of Sentence Suspension.”   Joint suspension is “Execution of Sentence Suspended”  Here’s the difference:

“Imposition of sentence suspended” is the default probationary sentence.  The defendant is sentenced to certain terms and conditions of probation but there is no set penalty or punishment if the defendant violates probation.

“Execution of Sentence Suspended” or “joint suspension” is also a probationary sentence, but the punishment for violating probation IS set.  Usually the punishment for violating probation is a state prison sentence…which is why it’s called “joint suspension” (an old slang term for prison is “the joint” and your sentence in “the joint” is suspended).

So if you are put on “joint suspension” probation, and you violate your probation, you automatically get sentenced to prison?  Not necessarily. You still have the right to aprobation violation hearing at which your attorney can provide evidence in your defense as well as any mitigating factors in your favor.

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1 Comment

  1. John Olagues
    January 10, 2019

    You have no idea of what the definition of “Imposition of sentence suspended” means.

    It means there has not been a “sentence imposed”. If the probation is served properly, the defendant has the status in California as if he were never prosecuted.

    And this is exactly what the Cal Supreme Court says in Stephens v. Toomey

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