Home Law International Handbook of Juvenile Justice
Conviction Without Sentence (“Schuldspruch ohne Strafe”)
After the trial, instead of pronouncing a low sentence (up to 3 months of imprisonment, Schroll 2010), the court may convict the young offender and abstain from passing sentence if it is considered that the official conviction is sufficient to prevent the offender from committing further criminal acts and no exceptional general preventative grounds are found to pre-empt such an approach (§ 12 Juvenile Court Act) (Schroll 1986). Hence, a formal conviction is made, yet no sentence is passed. Thus the offender has received a slap on the wrist, but no further damage has been caused. No sentence may be passed in retrospect. Whether or not a conviction without sentence can be passed is left to the discretion of the court. The conviction has to be recorded in the register but will be expunged after only 3 years.
Conviction With Suspended Sentence (“Schuldspruch unter Vorbehalt der Strafe")
Instead of a conviction without sentence the court has the possibility to retrain the right to pass a sentence with a probation period between 1 and 3 years. A prerequisite is that the court considers that a conviction and the mere threat of a sentence, alone or in combination with other measures, sufficiently serve as a deterrent. Here also general preventative concern has to be taken into account. Once again, the implementation of this measure is left to the discretion of the court. A conviction with a suspended sentence can be ordered with a personal directive and/or the appointment of a parole officer if this is deemed necessary or advisable on grounds of special prevention.
The passing of a sentence in retrospect is only possible if the convicted person commits another criminal offence within the probation period and reasons of special prevention speak in favour of such action or if the offender disregards a court directive with bad intent or stops seeing his or her parole officer.
Here, the conviction is also deleted from the criminal record earlier than in cases of adult, after 3 years.
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