Joint suspension is a term frequently mouthed by defendants sitting in jail and attending proceedings in local courthouses. People facing felony charges commonly look at joint suspensions as a good solution to their current problems in the legal system, however, defense lawyers don’t always share that opinion.
A joint suspension can commence when a defendant enters a plea of guilty and incarceration is suspended, and that defendant is placed on probation. However, in a joint suspension, unlike a standard probation sentence, the punishment for a probation violation is set (pre-determined). In short, any violation of probation will result in the defendant serving X number of years in prison.
Think of it like a bet made in Las Vegas on a ball game. The defendant is betting he can stay out of trouble for the period of probation, and the prosecutor is confident the defendant will run afoul of the law again (and get caught) before probation is completed. If the defendant is right, he avoids spending time behind bars. If the defendant is wrong, he will be incarcerated for a good long stretch, commonly the maximum amount allowed for a conviction of the charge for which he entered a guilty plea.
Defense attorneys commonly warn defendants who have had repeated run ins with the police against asking them to request plea offers of joint suspensions. Folks who have had the police called more than once for domestic disturbances, repeat offender drunk drivers and narcotics users, and clients sporting gang tattoos, invariably are the joint suspension seekers who make us the most nervous.
Be advised that, in the greater Los Angeles area, an attorney will not usually be able to negotiate a joint suspension for his client. Why? Often times the assistant district attorney thinks the defendant is a “poor bet,” and is likely to avoid trouble in the future. Also, judges commonly will not agree to them. It is not unusual for judges to deny them and explain that they do not like the fact that any probation violation will force them to give the defendant a long sentence, often-times not commensurate with the seriousness of the violation.
The Law Offices Of Vincent W Davis And Associates