Potential Criminal Case Outcomes

Prison Sentence

Some state laws require the judges to impose what are called "determinate" prison sentences. A determinate sentence is a fixed-term sentence pronounced by a judge. For example, a defendant sentenced to "30 days in county jail" or "five years in state prison" has received a determinate sentence.

Other state laws require judges to give "indeterminate sentences." Indeterminate sentences are those in which the legislature sets a minimum and/or maximum time of incarceration but leaves the decision as to when to release an inmate to prison officials. As a general rule, indeterminate sentences are only imposed on people who are sentenced to state prison after being convicted of a felony.

Suspended Sentence or Probation

An SIS (suspended imposition of sentence) is a type of probation in Missouri where you plead guilty and then are placed on SIS. As long as you successfully complete the terms of your probationary period, an SIS will not result in a conviction “appearing” on your record. S.I.S. = Suspended Imposition of Sentence: the defendant is placed on probation. If the defendant violates probation and faces revocation, the Judge may order any sentence within the full range of punishment for the crime convicted. If the defendant successfully completes probation, no sentence is ever actually ordered so an S.I.S. is not considered a ‘conviction’ for anything other than law enforcement purposes.

An SES (suspended execution of sentence) is when the defendant is placed on probation with an incarceration amount preset in case of revocation. The Judge is limited to executing only that sentence if the defendant is revoked. An S.E.S. is a conviction for all purposes. The judge may impose whatever conditions on defendant's probation deemed appropriate. CAO will ask that particular conditions be imposed on case-by-case basis. Defendant is ordered to report to Probation and Parole immediately. Maximum amount of time defendant can be on probation is 5 years for a felony and 2 years for a misdemeanor. The Judge is limited to executing only that sentence if the defendant is revoked. An S.E.S. is a conviction for all purposes. 

Offenders who are put on probation are typically required to adhere to a number of "conditions of probation," including:

  • Obey all laws (even petty laws like jaywalking have been known to land a probationer back in jail).
  • Abide by any court orders, such as an order to pay a fine or restitution.
  • Report regularly to the probation officer.
  • Report any change of employment or address to the probation officer.
  • Abstain from the excessive use of alcohol or the use of any drugs.
  • Submit to regular alcohol or drug testing.
  • Refrain from travel outside of the jurisdiction without prior permission of the probation officer.
  • Avoid certain people and places.

If a probation violation is discovered and reported, it is likely that the court will conduct a probation revocation hearing.


Fines are a common punishment for a variety of crimes, especially less serious offenses committed by first-time offenders. Offenses that are typically punished by a fine include minor drug possession (of a small amount of marijuana, for example), fish and game violations, shoplifting, traffic violations, and first-time drunk driving cases. In more serious offenses or where the defendant has a criminal record, many judges combine a fine with other punishments, such as incarceration, community service, and probation.


Restitution means "paying back." A law dictionary defines restitution as an, "act of restoring; restoration; restoration of anything to its rightful owner; the act of making good or giving equivalent for any loss, damage or injury." The purpose of restitution fines or direct order of restitution is to help victims recover from any financial hardship caused due to your criminal activity. Restitution may cover medical bills, funeral expenses, and the cost of repairing damaged property. 

Community Service

In this form of community service, people convicted of crimes are required to perform community services or work for agencies in the sentencing jurisdiction either entirely or partly in lieu of other judicial remedies and sanctions, such as incarceration or fines. For instance, a fine may be reduced in exchange for a prescribed number of hours of community service. The court may allow the convict to choose their community service, which then must be documented by "credible agencies", such as non-profit organizations, or may mandate a specific service. Sometimes the sentencing is specifically targeted to the convict's crime, for example, a litterer may have to clean a park or roadside, or a drunk driver might appear before school groups to explain why drunk driving is a crime.


Diversion is a program that has been created by the state legislature and signed into law. It identifies specific crimes, and describes the characteristics of those charged with the crimes, that will enable the defendant to enter the program. Those who enter a diversionary program typically do not enter a plea when they come to court (at their arraignment) after being arrested. Instead, they are literally diverted to the counseling program. (In some programs, defendants plead guilty but the plea isn’t formally entered into the court system; the plea is erased upon successful completion of the program.) Programs can last from six months to a year or more.

There are many different types of "alternative sentences," which can include fairly innovative punishments. Offenders have been required to:

  • Install breathalyzer devices in their cars so that their cars will not start unless the offender has "clean" breath
  • Give lectures or teach classes about the dangers of criminal behavior
  • Attend lectures given by crime victims
  • Complete a drug or alcohol treatment program
  • Do weekend jail time, or
  • Stay at home under "house arrest." 

If you have been charged for a crime and need help with the legal process or would like more information, call Grover Law Firm today at (913) 432-1000

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