People who are facing criminal charges will usually ask what the possible sentence will be if they’re convicted. Some opt to pursue a plea deal so they can work with the prosecution to obtain a favorable sentence, but this isn’t always possible.
If you’re going through a trial, you need to understand what the court considers when issuing a sentence after a conviction. Exactly what the court considers depends on the circumstances of the case.
Common sentencing factors
One of the first things the court considers is the sentencing guidelines established for the charges the person was convicted of. These guidelines provide consistency between courts throughout the state. Some charges have mandatory minimum sentences, which means the court must issue at least that minimum sentence.
Other factors the court may consider include the circumstances of the crime. If the defendant was the primary participant in the crime, they’ll likely have a harsher sentence than an accessory. Harsher sentences are also possible if the victim was a public servant on official business when they were harmed.
The court also considers the person’s prior criminal history and whether they are remorseful for their crimes. People who have previous convictions on the charges and those who don’t seem remorseful of what they did will likely have harsher sentences than those who are facing their first criminal charge and show remorse.
In the absence of a plea deal, defendants don’t have any say in the sentence they’ll face. It’s sometimes possible to craft a defense strategy that minimizes the penalties. Working closely with someone who can help you to do this is important if you’re concerned about it.