Types of sentence you may receive

The law prescribes certain sentences that can be imposed as punishment.

A fine is a monetary penalty imposed on you by the court. You should take the necessary steps to pay the amount stated immediately (usually on the same day), or by the due date.

You can also apply for your court fine to be paid by instalments, subject to the court's approval. This request should be made immediately to the judge upon the pronouncement of your sentence.

If you are unable to pay the court fine by the due date, you may have to serve a default imprisonment term decided by the court. If you were remanded in prison before this sentence was passed, the court cannot order your sentence to be backdated.

If you can pay the fine while serving the default imprisonment term, you should inform the relevant prison officers immediately. You will be released once you make payment of the remaining fine, calculated on a pro-rated basis depending on the period of imprisonment served up to the point of payment.

Receiving an imprisonment term means you will be sent to prison for a period decided by the court.

Caning must imposed by the court for certain offences. The court will decide on the number of strokes you will receive if you are ordered to be caned.

Caning can only be imposed on male offenders below 50 years old. An offender can be administered a maximum of 24 strokes of the cane per session.

The following cannot be punished with caning:

  • Female offenders.
  • Male offenders 50 years or above.

In such cases, the sentence of caning may be replaced with an additional sentence of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months.

Relevant legislation

Legislation associated with this topic includes division 2 (section 325 to 332 of the Criminal Procedure Code).

For certain offences, such as murder or trafficking of drugs above a certain quantity, the court may sentence you to death.

Only the High Court can pass a death sentence. In some cases, the court is obliged by law to pass the death penalty. In other cases, the court can decide whether the death penalty is appropriate, and will do so by examining the facts of the case and considering relevant legal principles.

Relevant legislation

Legislation associated with this topic includes:

Preventive detention involves the confinement of an offender for a minimum of 7 years and up to a maximum of 20 years. This means you will be detained in prison for a substantial period of time.

It can be imposed by the District Court or the High Court only if you fulfil all of the following:

  • You are at least 30 years old.
  • You are certified fit to undergo preventive detention.
    • The court must call for and consider a report prepared by the prisons on your physical and mental condition and your suitability to serve preventive detention before the sentence is imposed.
  • You have had at least 3 prior convictions since you reached the age of 16 years, which satisfy the criteria stated in section 304(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
Note
Preventive detention is separate from imprisonment. The District Court or High Court will only impose this sentence if they are satisfied that detaining the offender in prison will protect the public.

Relevant legislation

Legislation associated with this topic includes section 304(2) and 304(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Corrective training involves the incarceration of an offender for a minimum period of 5 years and up to a maximum of 14 years. This means you will be detained in prison for a substantial period of time.

This sentence is a separate regime from imprisonment. It can be imposed by the District Court or the High Court only if you fulfil all of the following:

  • You are a repeat offender and the court is satisfied that you need to receive training of a corrective character to achieve your reformation and prevention of crime.
  • You are 18 years or above.
  • You are certified fit to undergo corrective training.
    • The court must call for and consider a report prepared by the prisons on your physical and mental condition and your suitability to serve corrective training before the sentence is imposed.
  • You meet the criteria stated in section 304(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Relevant legislation

Legislation associated with this topic includes section 304(1) and 304(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Being put on probation means you will be supervised by a probation officer for a period between 6 months and 3 years, instead of receiving any other sentence.

While probation is more commonly ordered for offenders below 21 years of age, adult offenders may also be placed on probation in appropriate cases.

In deciding whether to grant probation, the court will consider:

  • Your character.
  • The nature and severity of your offence.
  • The report prepared by the probation officer.

If you are placed on probation, you are generally free to carry on your daily activities. However, you will need to follow all of the following rules:

  • You must not reoffend during your probation period.
  • You must comply with conditions attached to your probation.
Example

Keeping to time restrictions, performing community service and attending counselling or any necessary programmes for your rehabilitation are common examples of conditions attached to probation.

If you successfully complete your probation period, the offence for which you were put on probation will not stay on your criminal record. If you fail to do so, your probation order may be revoked and a fine or imprisonment term may be imposed instead. If you are below 21 years old, reformative training may be imposed.

Compared to probation, reformative training is a more severe punishment for young offenders of or above the age of 16 but below the age of 21.

It requires you to be detained in a structured environment. The court has a discretion to impose a minimum detention period of 6 or 12 months. This discretion is likely to be exercised bearing in mind your need for rehabilitation and the need to prevent you from offending again.

During the period of reformative training, you will be required to attend programmes or counselling to deal with your offending behaviour. When deciding between probation and reformative training, the court will consider:

  • The seriousness of your offence.
  • The likelihood of your rehabilitation.
  • Your criminal history.
  • Your suitability to undergo reformative training.
    • The court must call for and consider a report prepared by the prisons on your physical and mental condition and the nature of the rehabilitation that is recommended for you before the sentence is imposed.

Relevant legislation

Legislation associated with this topic includes section 305 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Community based sentences (CBS) were introduced in 2010 to give the courts more sentencing options for minor offences. This means the court can consider CBS instead of traditional sentences such as imprisonment or a fine, in appropriate cases.

Once you have successfully completed your CBS, the offence for which you were convicted will be removed from your criminal record.

Find out the different types of CBS the court can impose.

For certain traffic offences, the court may make an order to disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driving licence for life, or for a period of time the court thinks fit.

Relevant legislation

Legislation associated with this topic includes section 42 of the Road Traffic Act.

2021/03/02

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