One of the primary concerns for some defendants is what type of sentence they will face if they get convicted. While it’s impossible to predict the exact sentence that will be handed down, there are some factors that might clue you in to what may happen.
Judges don’t have carte blanche when it comes to sentencing. They have to look at a host of factors that are related to the case to determine what should happen.
What factors does the court consider when determining a sentence?
One of the first things that the judge will consider is the sentencing guidelines for a crime. This is usually a range of sentences, which can include alternative sentences or incarceration, for the crime. In some cases, crimes come with mandatory minimum sentences. The judge can’t go below that sentence associated with a specific crime.
The judge will also consider other factors, including:
- The defendant’s criminal history, including any prior convictions for the same charge
- Any mitigating circumstances, e.g., if there was a victim and if they fall into a special victim classification or be police officers
- Remorse or regret from the defendant about the crime, not just about getting caught.
Anyone who’s facing criminal charges should learn about their defense strategy options. These can focus on attempting to be found not guilty, but they may also work toward minimizing the sentence. Your defense attorney can help you to determine what options are present in your case. Carefully consider the implications of each option so you can make the decisions you feel are in your best interests.