List of different types of sentences for criminal convictions

Updated April 17, 2017

When a person is convicted of a criminal crime, he is given one of many sentences, or a combination of two or more sentences. The age of the defendant, the state and the number of prior criminal offences on record will all factor into determining the sentence -- which can range from simple community service and house arrest to prison.


Some criminal offenders are placed on probation as their sentence. Their behaviour while on probation often determines if they will be punished more severely in the future. Defendants on probation sometimes have to meet with a probation officer on a regular basis, though this is not always a requirement. Non-reporting probation is when the defendant is not required to meet with his probation officer. A defendant is often ordered probation if he's been convicted of a drug- or alcohol-related crime. Often, part of the probation terms is mandatory drug testing or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Delayed Sentence

A delayed sentence gives the defendant the opportunity to avoid having a criminal conviction show up on his record, on the condition that he successfully completes his probation. This is often offered to younger defenders as well as those who are convicted for the first time for possession of a controlled substance. If the judge feels that probation is not enough, he may place a young offender in a boot camp program instead of jail. These facilities are similar to military boot camps; if the offender drops out or is kicked out of his boot camp program, he goes to jail.


Whether or not a defendant serves jail time is determined by the judge. If the judge feels that probation or house arrest isn't severe enough punishment, the defendant may be sent to jail. Jails house people who are waiting to go to trial and who have committed less serious crimes than those who are housed in prison. Aside from minor variations from state to state, jail sentences are typically no longer than one year. Defendants are typically placed on probation after serving their jail sentences.


Regardless of the conviction, defendants who are not legal U.S. citizens are often deported when convicted of a crime. They may also be denied citizenship or re-entry into the United States in the future.

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About the Author

As a full-time writer in New York's Hudson Valley, Lindsay Pietroluongo's nightlife column and photos have appeared regularly in the "Poughkeepsie Journal" since 2007. Additional publications include "Chronogram," the "New Paltz Sojourn," "About Town" newspaper and "Outsider" magazine. Pietroluongo graduated from Marist College with a B.A. in English.