What Factors Impact Sentencing?

Jun 10 2020

One of the primary questions that a person who is facing criminal charges has is what sentence they will face if they are convicted. While your attorney can provide you with a range of possibilities when they review your case, they can’t tell you for sure what you’re going to receive because there are many factors that the court will look at when trying to determine a sentence upon conviction.

While each case might vary slightly, these are some general guidelines about what the judge will factor in when determining your sentence:

  • Any prior criminal record that you have, including convictions on the same charge you’re currently facing
  • Whether you’re showing remorse about the crime or not
  • Any cruel, vindictive, or destructive behavior during the crime
  • Your status as the main party or an accessory to the crime
  • Whether there were any injuries in the commission of the crime

The court will also have to consider the sentencing guidelines for the crime. In some cases, this might involve a mandatory minimum sentence, which means the court can’t sentence you to anything less than that term.

In some cases, there are alternative sentences possible for cases. The court can review whether those are appropriate for your case. These include things like probation, drug court and similar programs.

One goal that you might set for your criminal defense strategy is minimizing the sentence you’ll face. Speak to your attorney about this so you can find out what options you have. Your lawyer may need to take steps to help you get an alternative sentence if one is available and you’re interested in it.

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