Criminal Law:

Sentencing

Following conviction, whether through a guilty plea, plea bargain, or jury verdict, the appropriate legal punishment is determined at the sentencing phase. A variety of of punishments may be imposed on a convicted criminal defendant, including:
  • Fines
  • Short or long term incarceration in jail
  • Probation
  • A suspended sentence, which takes effect if conditions such as probation are violated
  • Payment of restitution to the crime victim
  • Community service
  • Rehabilitation
Sentencing typically takes place almost immediately after convictions for infractions and minor misdemeanors, or when a defendant has pled guilty. However, in more complex criminal cases, such as those involving serious felonies, the sentencing judge usually receives input from the prosecutor, the defense, and the probation department.
The sentencing judge will also consider punishments and sentencing ranges identified in applicable criminal statutes, as well as a number of case-specific factors, including:
  • The defendant's criminal history
  • The nature of the crime, the manner in which it was committed, and the impact on victims
  • The defendant's personal, economic, and social circumstances
  • Regret or remorse expressed by the defendant

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