is there a legal difference in the definition of being sentenced to 12 months and being sentenced to a 1 year term?
i need to know for the purposes of an immigration issue.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
every state has diffeent ways of answering that, the most specific answer would be if the sentence is one year and one day as opposed to one year or 12 months. the extra day could mean you are not parole eligible. Absent that, i woudl suggest it is matter of syntax. But to be sure, just ask the clerk or the probation officer. take care
Criminal Defense Attorney
The answer depends upon the context. For immigration purposes, a 12-month sentence, even if suspended in its entirety, can count as a felony. For instance, petit larcey in Virginia is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in jail. However, any theft offense with a sentence of 12 months, even if suspended, would qualify as an Aggravated Felony for immigration purposes under 8 USC § 1101 (43).
This is the reason non-citizens who have been in America a very long time can get removed from the country based on a 10-year-old shoplifting cconviction from Virginia, for example, when the sentence imposed was 12 months with 12 months suspended. The result is harsh, and there should be no doubt that Congress wrote a very strict immigration law with unfair results in certain situations.