The moment you take a plea bargain, the judge will decide on the right sentence when the case reaches the sentencing stage of the criminal case. A criminal case can land you in probation, community service, or even the death penalty.
The Basics of Sentencing
Sentencing will take place after conviction if it was a minor case or after pleading guilty. In serious criminal cases like felonies, the judge will rely on the prosecutor, the defense team, and the probation department.
Judges consider the following factors before handing in a sentence:
- Your criminal history
- Were you an accessory or the main offender?
- What were your stress levels when the crime was committed?
- Whether there was an injury or if the offense was likely to hurt anyone
- Whether you were cruel to the victim (were you destructive or vengeful)
- Whether there was any sign of remorse or regret
Choosing the Right Sentence
Judges have the discretion to determine your sentencing, and they have several alternatives as well. Not every conviction means a trip to the prison, depending on the case presented on your behalf by your attorney; other sentencing options include:
- Suspended sentencing
- Fines or restitution
- Community service
- Deferred judgement or pretrial diversion
In light of the many possibilities of sentencing, the federal and state laws can ask for mandatory sentences. The laws require that the judge impose the same penalties on all people facing the same conviction. A mandatory sentence is a reflection of the state to act in public interest against acts of leniency or inconsistency from the judge.
A good example is the three strikes statute that will land you a life sentence if convicted of a felony for the third time. Each state has its own rules to follow, and conviction may lead to mandatory minimum sentences and the use of parole and probation.
Hire an Attorney in Criminal Case
The various sentences available for a judge to apply in your case means that a good defense lawyer can help argue the case and get a lighter sentence. However, get yourself an experienced and qualified Galveston criminal defense attorney to handle the case on your behalf as early as possible. Good lawyers help gather evidence that may lead to favorable sentencing.
Appeals and Case Reviews
You can choose to appeal by asking a higher court to look into your case and determine if the lower court made the right decision.
The law allows different avenues to take your appeal case; here are some means you can use to initiate your appeal:
- A direct appeal made after the final judgement is given
- Habeas corpus that is available in both state and federal laws
- Writ of prohibition issued by the higher court to the lower ones from going beyond its jurisdiction
- Post-conviction relief, which is motion, brought in by you or your attorney
- Writ of mandamus written to compel the court to perform a mandatory duty
- An interlocutory appeal is issued any time before the final judgement in the lower courts
When a judge is pronouncing a sentence, the steps followed vary from one state to the next. The information gives an overview of the common steps in typical criminal sentencing.