Structured Deferred Sentence (SDS)

Last updated: 19 February 2018

You can be given a Structured Deferred Sentence (SDS) after you've been found guilty of a crime.

An SDS lasts from the time you're found guilty until the time you go back to court to be sentenced.

If you do well during your SDS, it can reduce the sentence you're given.

If you decide not to take an SDS, the judge will sentence you as normal.

What happens when you're given an SDS

An SDS is given to help if you've got problems with:

  • drugs or alcohol
  • mental health
  • learning difficulties

If you're given an SDS you'll get a social worker to help you.

While on your SDS you need to show that you're not going to commit a new offence.

You can do this by going to:

  • court for reviews of your SDS
  • all the support sessions you need to
  • any sessions you're given with a social worker

An SDS is aimed at sorting out problems which can lead to crime. An SDS is not used for violent, serious or sex offenders.

Who gets an SDS

You can't request an SDS.

Your social worker or lawyer may suggest you as being right for an SDS, but it's up to a sheriff or judge to decide and tell you about their choice in court.