You made a mistake, received a criminal charge and have now been convicted in court. With a tarnished reputation, you now face sentencing. Knowing that you may lose your job, your business and even your professional license, you seek any positive alternatives.
Requesting a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) represents a potential “bright spot” — one that leads to the sealing of your criminal record from the public as long as you abide by the agreed-upon terms and conditions of probation.
Suspends sentence, seals record from public
An SIS is a special judgment in which the court enters the conviction but suspends the sentence. The suspension is for a fixed period, allowing the defendant to get the chance to display his or her rehabilitation by fulfilling the conditions of the probation.
The court seals the conviction if the defendant complies with every single condition that had been set by the court. An SIS only seals a person’s criminal conviction to the public, which may include the media, insurance companies and employers. However, the SIS does not conceal your criminal record to law enforcement or criminal courts.
The courts and law enforcement do not forget that criminal charge. Let us say that you received an SIS related to a DUI charge. However, If you get another DUI charge within a few years, the most recent is your second DUI charge even though the court sealed the first one.
Only get one SIS in your life
An SIS may happen for felony and misdemeanor charges. In South Dakota:
- A person may only get a single SIS during their lifetime.
- Getting an SIS in South Dakota prevents you from obtaining a similar sentencing alternative in other states.
- Anyone with a previous felony conviction is ineligible to obtain an SIS.
A key thing to remember is that a defendant must successfully complete the probation or conditions before the record is sealed. A revocation of the SIS may occur if the defendant violates the conditions, and a strong possibility exists that a judge may declare other penalties or impose the original sentence.
Look upon an SIS as an opportunity. In a way, the state and the legal system provide you with a second chance. Abide by the terms of conditions of your probation. You may continue with your life, but with great lessons learned.