Difference between SIS and SES in Missouri
In Missouri, when an accused person pleads guilty to an offense or is convicted at trial the court can grant the defendant probation. There are two common types of probation that Missouri courts impose for criminal offenders-Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS) and Suspended Execution of Sentence (SES). The two probation options may be somehow confusing especially for persons who do not have a good understanding of the law.
In SIS, a defendant who pleads guilty to the charges does not get sentenced and instead, they are placed on probation for a fixed period of time. However, the trial court retains the right to pronounce a sentence which lies within the statutory range stipulated in the criminal statute if the defendant violates the terms of the court and their probation is revoked. But if the defendant completes the probation period in good standing, no sentence is imposed on them and the offense does not appear on their record. Therefore, SIS simply means the court sets the sentence aside until probation is completed under specific terms set out by the court. This option not only keeps defendants out of jail, it also gives them a chance to demonstrate to the courts that they can adhere to the requirements of the probation. More often, SIS probation is imposed for first-time offenders and persons who commit minor felonies. This option is perceived to be more lenient but that is not always the case.
SES may seem to be similar to SIS in terms of being placed on probation but it’s different. In SES, a defendant who pleads guilty in court is convicted and sentenced with jail time but execution of the sentence is suspended. The defendant will not serve the jail time and they are placed on probation. Should they fail to successfully complete the probation in good standing, the court has the jurisdiction of executing the jail time. The conviction permanently appears on the defendant’s record even after successfully completing probation.
An SES is considered to be a final judgment by Missouri courts while an SIS is not. Should a person who has received an SIS violate the stipulated terms of probation, they are taken before a judge who will determine if indeed they violated the probation requirements. If the court finds the defendant guilty of violating probation requirements, all parties will go back to the drawing board to determine the sentence to be imposed. On the other hand, a person with an SES and has violated probation terms will have the previously-agreed sentence executed. For instance, if you had an SES with 4 years of probation, violating your probation means you’ll be serve a jail time of 5 years with minimal chances of negotiation.
More often, first-time misdemeanor defendants prefer SIS to SES simply because the former is not considered a conviction provided one completes their probation period successfully. Under the criminal statute, SIS is not a conviction and can only be considered in subsequent trials and not other purposes. In case the defendant commits a similar offense, the courts will treat the SIS as a prior offense. A defendant who completed their probation successfully can deny any prior criminal convictions when applying for employment. On the other hand, the SES is an actual conviction that applies for all purposes.
Overall, an SIS is considered less strict than an SES. If you violate an SES, the court has a right to execute the actual sentence but as for the SIS, violating terms of probation will get the parties back to the drawing table to determine a new sentence.