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An abeyance is a temporary suspension of activity while awaiting the resolution of some other proceeding without which the activity in abeyance cannot continue. 

In the case of a plea in abeyance, the defendant enters a conditional plea of guilty which is then held in abeyance subject to a set of conditions. If the defendant fulfills these conditions, the charges are dropped. If the defendant fails to complete the conditions, the guilty plea is entered. For example, a defendant may be required to undergo a drug addiction treatment program or have a guilty plea entered. 

Appeals can also be held in abeyance, usually to await the outcome of another court case which concerns similar issues. 

In property law, abeyance occurs when the true owner of property cannot immediately be determined. In these scenarios, that property is held in abeyance with no one able to exert ownership rights until the true owner can be determined. 

[Last updated in June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]