Under sec 5(1) of the Probation of Offenders Act, the Court may sentence an accused to probation instead of a jail sentence. The main benefit and effect of probation are that the accused person does not get a criminal record.
Sentence Fixed by Law
Probation, which entails supervision by a probation officer, can be imposed on first-time offenders below the age of 21 where the prescribed sentence is a mandatory or specified minimum sentence.
The law on the meaning of that crucial phrase ‘fixed by law’ has evolved over the years. In Mohamad Fairuuz bin Saleh v Public Prosecutor  SGHC 264, the Honourable Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon stated that “In our judgment, a sentence which is fixed by law refers only to sentences which are fixed in quantum and in type, in the sense that the court has no discretion as to the type of sentence (including its imposition) or the quantum to be imposed”.
Other Facts About Probation
In certain circumstances, those above 21 may be able to get probation. It may depend on the age, the seriousness of the offence and any mental illness on the part of the accused.
When the Court places an accused on probation, it means that he will be placed under the supervision of a Probation Officer.
The probation period can last between six months to three years and is required to comply with certain conditions as stipulated by the Court. The Court can impose additional conditions of probation such as the Community Service Order, the Weekend Detention Order, the Detention Order and the Periodic Training Order.
The Ministry of Sosial and Family Development (MSF) Probation Officers will supervise and support the probationers through their Probation Order. The Probation Officer will help the probationers work through the problems that led to the offence.
For more information please refer to the Attorney General’s Chambers, State Court and from this article from the Deputy Director & Chief Probation Officer, Ministry of Community Development and Sports.
For inquiries on criminal offences in Singapore or if looking for a criminal lawyer in Singapore, contact Ray Louis Law Corporation at +65-9090 8288.