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Factors that affect sentencing in criminal cases

The sentencing phase of a criminal case is one of the most feared of the entire process. This is when a person who has been convicted of a crime or who pleaded guilty to a crime finds out how they will be punished for that crime. The sentencing phase is one that requires a lot of thought because there are several elements that must be considered prior to handing down a sentence.

When you are being sentenced, the judge will consider whether you showed regret or not. In some cases, the judge will consider if you acted in a remorseful manner. The judge might also consider if the crime was based on cruelty, a vindictive nature or similar factors. Damage done and injuries caused will be considered.

Besides those elements, the judge will consider your criminal history, how you were involved in the crime and whether you were under stress or duress at the time of the crime. All of these factors will come together with the pre-sentence report that is prepared by the probation department, the input of the prosecution and the input of your defense.

Judges have a broad discretion when it comes to sentencing a person. There are guidelines for sentencing; however, those aren't steadfast sentences. You can be sentenced to incarceration, fines, probation, community service and several other possibilities. In some cases, you might even get a suspended sentence.

It is crucial to prepare for the sentencing hearing. Knowing what to expect can help you to decide how to prepare for this portion of the process.

Source: FindLaw, "Criminal Sentencing," accessed March 04, 2016

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