Suspended sentence: supervised

A suspended sentence is considered to be a sentence of imprisonment.

A court may choose to partly or wholly suspend the sentence.

If the sentence is suspended the offender can live in the community instead of going to jail for all or part of their sentence, as long as they obey the court's conditions.

If the offender doesn’t obey the conditions they will be required to serve their full sentence in prison.

Any time spent on a suspended sentence will not be counted.

The offender is supervised by a probation and parole officer and they may be required to participate in programs, treatment or training.

What someone on suspended sentence must do

If you have been given a suspended sentence you must:

  • follow all reasonable directions of the probation and parole officer
  • report to and receive visits from the officer as directed
  • attend programs or counselling as directed by the officer
  • tell the officer if you change employment or address within two working days
  • follow all other conditions set by the court.

If you have been given a suspended sentence you must not:

  • break the law while on the order
  • leave the Northern Territory (NT) without permission from the probation and parole officer
  • breach the conditions of your order.

After a court places someone on suspended sentence

If the offender’s sentence isn’t fully suspended they may be required to serve some time in prison before being released.

If the sentence is partly suspended the offender will be given a copy of the order on release from prison.

Before they are released the probation and parole officer should meet with them to discuss the conditions of their order.

If the sentence is fully suspended the court will give the offender a copy of their court order that will outline the conditions the offender must obey.

The offender must report to the Community Corrections Office named on the order within two working days.

When the offender reports to the Community Corrections Office they will be assigned a probation and parole officer. Their officer will:

  • go through the order with the offender to make sure they understand it
  • explain the conditions the offender must comply with
  • provide any details of programs and counselling if the offender has a condition to attend
  • help the offender develop a plan to follow the conditions of their order.

If they can’t attend the appointment

If an offender can’t attend a program or an appointment it is their responsibility to notify their probation and parole officer immediately.

The offender will be required to provide evidence such as a doctor’s certificate or letter from their employer.

If they don't follow the order

If an offender doesn’t follow the conditions of the order, the probation and parole officer will investigate what has happened and the offender may have to return to court to explain their actions.

If the probation and parole officer says that you have to go back to court you should contact your lawyer. Your lawyer will explain your options and what the court might decide.

Why programs are included

Programs can help offenders make changes in their life and reduce the risk of re-offending. Programs have been developed to provide help with gambling, drugs, alcohol, money problems or mental illness.

If they can't meet the obligations of the order

An offender can apply to the court at any time during the order period for the order to be revoked and another penalty substituted. Contact your lawyer to discuss your options and make an application to the court.

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Last updated: 17 June 2022

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