Criminal sentence,  This is the part of the criminal justice process where the accused person who has been found guilty of having committed a crime during trial, will hear the determination of his penalty.

What is a criminal sentence?

A criminal sentence refers to the legal consequences related to a criminal conviction. Sentences are passed by courts to serve as deterrence to future crime. This theory holds that if people know that criminal behavior has a severe or stiff penalty, they will be less likely to commit a similar crime in the future.

Sentencing is part of the criminal justice process because crimes are a violation of the moral or ethical code of the community, they are a breach of the peace of the community. Thus, the convicted felon must be punished. The sentence, then, is the way by which a convicted felon can “pay” his or her debt to society.

What does a judge consider in imposing sentences for criminal convictions?

In crafting a sentence, the judge will usually ask for a presentencing report. The judge will consider the crime and the manner the crime was committed. The judge considers the victim, and the judge considers the convicted felon. For instance, the felon may be a minor or the felon may be a repeated offender who has been convicted of past crimes. The sentence imposed by the judge must protect society from the felon, but he must also consider whether the penalty imposed can provide the treatment, medical care or education to the felon so that he or she can be rehabilitated. Judges in California also consider other matters such as the overcrowding in prisons.

The US Congress has passed a law that establishes a minimum and maximum punishment for crimes. The US Sentencing Commission has published guidelines. These guidelines recommend punishments for crimes. There are guidelines to sentencing provided by law, but these merely guide the judge to impose a reasonable sentence. Judges cannot impose sentences that are considered cruel or unusual.

What is a pre-sentencing report?

It is a report prepared by probation officers, social workers or psychologists. It is required when the defendant is eligible to apply for probation or for a term of imprisonment. The judge may order a presentencing report simply to assist in the determination of an appropriate sentence.

To write the pre-sentencing report, probation officers interview the convicted felon and look for previous criminal convictions, if any. The report will also include the personal, family and employment history of the convicted felon, his or her health and financial status. The probation officers will look for factors that affect the felon’s behavior. They also look into the extent of the harm caused by the crime to the victim and the victim’s family.

Do I need a lawyer when I am interviewed for the pre-sentencing report?

It would help if you work with a lawyer to prepare for the interview. The lawyer may not be allowed to be present during the interview. Working with a lawyer before your pre-sentencing interview will help make sure that all factors in your favor and in favor of a reduced sentence can be presented to the interviewer. You may also work with a lawyer to provide reasons why a more lenient sentence is reasonable under your given circumstances.

A lawyer can help you present alternative sentences such as treatment or home detention or community service. The lawyer can help prepare a written statement in support of mitigation.

When does sentencing occur?

When an accused person is charged with a misdemeanor or an infraction, the sentencing occurs immediately after the accused person is convicted. When the accused person is charged with a serious crime, the judge will schedule a separate sentencing hearing.

What happens during a sentencing hearing?

During a sentencing hearing, the judge hears evidence and arguments from both the prosecution and the defense as to the appropriate sentence. They produce evidence of mitigating and aggravating factors. Mitigating factors tend to reduce the severity of the sentence while aggravating factors tend to increase the severity of the sentence.

What is allocution?

Allocution is when the convicted felon directly speaks to the judge. The convicted person may ask for leniency, issue an apology or explain why he or she committed the crime. This is also the time when the convicted person can directly address the victim of the crime or the family of the victim of the crime to show remorse for what they have done.

What types of sentences can a judge pass on a convicted person?

The sentence a judge passes largely depends on the type of crime for which the person was convicted. Judges may order that the convicted person pay a fine, undergo probation, or be imprisoned. The judge may also suspend the sentence provided the accused meets conditions such as: undergo therapy, substance abuse rehabilitation, counselling or community service. The judge may order the convicted person to pay restitution to the victim. In murder cases, the judge may order the convicted felon to life imprisonment or to death.

Does an accused person who has been convicted need a lawyer during sentencing?

Yes, having a lawyer with you during sentencing is important. A lawyer can prove circumstances that may help you avoid a long imprisonment. A defense lawyer can help you apply for probation so that you can avoid prison.

Have you been convicted of a crime? Are you now facing sentencing? Do you feel that there are circumstances that may help reduce the severity of the sentence the judge may impose? Do you need the assistance of a lawyer to present evidence or to address the court and ask for leniency or mercy? Call Ramiro J. Lluis Law Office, their criminal defense lawyers can help you.