After receiving a criminal conviction, the next step in the process is sentencing. Even in jury trials, the judge handles sentencing decisions. While the law provides certain guidelines for sentencing, there are elements left to the judge’s discretion as well.
Understanding the factors that the judge considers can help you be better prepared for your sentencing hearing.
Your criminal history
First-time offenders may see a lighter sentence than someone with an extensive criminal history. The judge will assess your criminal record to weigh the potential for re-offense as they determine your sentence.
Your role in the crime
The actual role you played in the situation will typically factor into the judge’s sentencing order. For example, when you were a participant but not the primary offender in the incident, you may receive some leniency. The same applies if you participated under duress.
Your personal actions
Your actions in the event also contribute to your sentence. You may see a harsher sentence if you assaulted anyone or behaved aggressively. The judge might also show some leniency if you went out of your way to prevent any injuries.
Your direct statement
Most judges will provide you the opportunity to address the court and make a statement before sentencing. You might think that your words have no bearing on the sentence, but a show of remorse and a desire to change your path can make a difference.
These are important factors in determining your sentence following a criminal conviction. While you cannot affect your criminal history or your role after the fact, you can give careful thought to your statement and craft it accordingly.