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Factors considered in sentencing

One of the primary questions of a person who’s facing criminal charges is what type of sentence they’ll have to serve if they’re convicted. This varies greatly from one case to another, even if the defendants are facing the same criminal charge. Understanding some of the factors that play a role in sentencing may make it easier for you to determine how to proceed with your defense.

What does the court look at when deciding a sentence?

There are a few different categories of things the court will consider during sentencing. Some may apply in certain cases but not in others. Ultimately, the court has the final say in the sentence as long as it’s within the legal limitations for the conviction, but some common factors include:

  • The criminal history of the defendant, or other aggravating factors
  • Specific information about the crime, including the losses suffered by victims
  • The defendant's remorse or other mitigating circumstances

Judges have to ensure a sentence is in line with the sentencing guidelines for the charge. This may include mandatory sentences, as well as maximum sentences. Anything that’s set by the state must be followed precisely.A plea deal may also impact the final sentence that someone will have to deal with. When this includes a specific sentence, the court will still ensure that it’s a suitable sentence. The court has the final say about sentences, even if there’s a deal.Facing a criminal charge is a serious matter that must be handled swiftly. Working with someone familiar with the criminal justice system can help you to learn what possible sentences you’re facing. They can also help you to learn more about your defense strategies and what they might do in your case.

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