Invalid length parameter passed to the substring function

SQL Server Error Message: Invalid length parameter passed to the substring function

Error Message:

Server: Msg 536, Level 16, State 3, Line 1
Invalid length parameter passed to the substring function.


This error is caused by passing a negative value to the length parameter of the SUBSTRING, LEFT and RIGHT string functions.  This usually occurs in conjunction with the CHARINDEX function wherein the character being searched for in a string is not found and 1 is subtracted from the result of the CHARINDEX function. 

LEFT(@String, CHARINDEX(' ', @String) - 1)

If the character is not found in a string, a space in this example, the CHARINDEX function will return a value of 0.  Subtracting 1 to this will become -1 and using this as the length parameter in the SUBSTRING or LEFT functions will result to this error.

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