A 37-year-old man has been sentenced to a 20-year prison term in connection with a burglary in Maryland in 2013. He pleaded guilty to the criminal charges. All but three of the sentence years have been suspended, which means the man's actual term in custody will be far shorter than two decades. He may serve as little as three years, but he will be required to stay on the straight-and-narrow after his release in order to avoid being incarcerated again. The defendant was convicted of second-degree burglary, along with theft charges for property between $1,000 and $10,000 in value.
The defendant and another man were taken into custody after allegedly breaking and entering at a rental shop in Frederick on February 23, 2013. Officers said the duo stole several chain saws and other power tools from the rental shop. The man and the other defendant will be required to pay restitution to that company as part of their sentence.
Authorities say that the pair was spotted at a Rentals Unlimited location in Frederick. They chose to flee police officers along Route 15, reaching speeds of about 100 mph. The two men were able to elude police officers for some time, though they eventually bailed out of their van on foot after pulling into a residential driveway.
Prosecutors in the case said that they agreed to a largely suspended sentence because the man did not have an extraordinarily long criminal history. He had previously been sentenced to probation for burglary in late November 2013, but he was given a suspended sentence. He may face additional penalties for violating that probation.
The defendant in this case was sentenced to a significant term, but he will not spend more than three years in custody, so long as he keeps his nose clean after he is released. This type of arrangement is relatively common in criminal law. The man could be sent back to jail if he violates the terms of his release during the span of his suspended sentence. Defendants who negotiate for such arrangements may be able to avoid lengthy prison terms by pleading guilty.
Source: WFMD 930, "Greenbelt Man Sentenced To Three Years For Burglary" Kevin McManus, Apr. 23, 2014