Difference Between Conviction & Sentence

Conviction vs Sentence

It is common for people to use the terms Conviction and Sentence interchangeably without understanding their true meanings. To differentiate between the two, it is essential to consider Conviction as something that comes before a Sentence.

What does Conviction mean?

Conviction is the result of a criminal prosecution that ends in a judgment that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. It is one of two possible outcomes at the end of a criminal proceeding: the defendant is found either guilty or not guilty. Conviction is declared by the jury or a judge and is associated with criminal proceedings rather than civil proceedings. The ultimate goal of the prosecution is to obtain a Conviction by proving beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.

What does Sentence mean?

A Sentence is the judicial determination and pronouncement of a punishment to be imposed on a person convicted of a crime. It includes punishment in the form of incarceration, fines, community service, restitution, rehabilitation programs, life imprisonment, probation, or the death penalty in serious cases. Sentences are based on the relevant law applicable to the particular crime and are most often used in relation to criminal trials as opposed to civil trials.

Key Takeaways

  • A Conviction is the act of proving or declaring a person guilty of a crime, whereas a Sentence is the formal declaration by a court imposing a punishment on the person convicted of a crime.
  • A Conviction is a result of the verdict of a judge and/or jury, while a Sentence is typically ordered by a judge.
  • A Conviction must precede a Sentence, as the court cannot order a Sentence unless the person has been found guilty or convicted.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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