A split sentence is a type of disposition in Massachusetts that confuses most people. Similar to suspended sentences, split sentences are usually only available for house of correction sentences. A split sentence will require you to serve a period of time in jail prior to being placed on probation. The remaining time will be suspended for the term of probation.
For example, if you plead out to a split sentence to an assault and battery case it could look something like this. Guilty 1 year house of corrections time, 6 months to serve, balance suspended for 2 years. That plea would essentially mean that you must serve 6 months in jail. Then you will be placed on probation for 2 years. If you violate the terms of probation during those two years you could be sentenced to an additional 6 months.
Split sentences make sense in some cases, but split sentences can be confusing. It is important that you know the potential penalties are prior to pleading out to a case.