A defendant in a criminal case will usually want to know what type of sentence they’re facing if they’re convicted. There are many different factors that the court will consider when determining the exact sentence after a conviction.
Some charges have strict penalty ranges that the court must impose. These are usually known as mandatory minimum sentences. Even if the court thinks that the sentence is too harsh for the crime, there isn’t any wiggle room for going below the lowest sentence noted.
What other factors impact criminal sentences?
A judge will consider many factors when they’re trying to determine a sentence for a conviction — some of which tend to be “aggravating” or inclined to increase a sentence, and some of which can mitigate, or decrease, the sentence. A person’s criminal history, for example, could either be an aggravating or mitigating factor. The judge will consider whether the defendant has been convicted of the same crime or a similar one. How long ago the prior conviction happened may be a factor.
Whether or not anyone was hurt is another consideration. The status of the victim is also factored in. Victims who are public servants, elderly, or disabled may cause enhanced sentences to come into the picture. Being particularly cruel to the victim can also lead to bigger penalties.
It’s possible for the court to look at whether the defendant is remorseful or not. A lesser sentence might be possible if the judge knows that you’re sorry for what happened.
Anyone who’s facing criminal charges should ensure they understand what sentences are possible. While this will typically include a range and different types, someone familiar with your case should be able to give you an idea of what you can expect. You may choose to tailor your defense strategy toward minimizing the penalties that you’re facing.