What is the correct English legal translation of the words unbedingt and bedingt when referring to a court sentence? E.g.:

Jemand wurde zu vier Monaten bedingt verurteilt.
(Roughly: Sombeody was sentenced [bedingt] to four months.)

I read this in reference to Austrian law; I’m not sure if it’s also applicable to Germany.

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    I just googled it, because I never heard it before: It is only part of Autrian law (see: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bedingte_Strafnachsicht) and not applicable in German law. – Iris Apr 27 '16 at 7:17
  • @Iris: Within the article you link to is a part called "Rechtslage ausserhalb Österreichs" that states that the same legal principle holds in Germany. – Ralph M. Rickenbach Apr 27 '16 at 7:44
  • @Ralph M. Rickenbach, yes, in principle, but in Germany it is called "Bewährung" and written down in "§ 56 Strafaussetzung". – Iris Apr 27 '16 at 7:54
  • "bedingt" refers to a suspended sentence, that's all there is to it. – Ingmar Apr 27 '16 at 8:28

Bedingte Strafnachsicht (lit. conditional clemency) is an Austrian legal term, often referred to as bedingte (ant.: unbedingte) Strafe. Germans would call it auf Bewährung or ausgesetzt zur Bewährung. Details may differ, but the principle is the same.

In legal English the whole concept is known as a suspended sentence.

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In Austria, just as in Switzerland and Germany, a bedingte Strafe is a conditional penalty. That is a penalty that is not executed immediately, but only when within a certain period some conditions are violated. During that time, the subject is on probation (auf Bewährung).

Unbedingt therefore is translated unconditional.

For a definition see here.

What differs between the countries is the severity of penalty that still can be granted as conditional.

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  • In Germany, bedingte Strafe wouldn’t be used (and probably not understood either). Instead, you would speak of a Bewährungsstrafe or say that die Strafe wurde zur Bewährung ausgesetzt. – Legal terms are probably the domain where the varieties of German differ most. – chirlu Apr 27 '16 at 8:12
  • I understand the legal term is suspended sentence. (Cf. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suspended_sentence) – Ingmar Apr 27 '16 at 8:30

bedingt is derived from Bedingung. In dict.cc (if you have searched) you could have found the Law-tag with the translation


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