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What does the court consider during sentencing?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | Criminal Defense

One of the biggest questions that a person facing criminal charges has is what type of sentence they will have if they’re convicted. For the most part, there isn’t an easy answer to that. Instead, there’s usually a sentence range that’s common for a specific crime.

The court has several factors to consider when determining what sentence to hand down after a conviction. These help ensure that the sentence adequately addresses the circumstances of the case without being overly harsh. Here are two:

Criminal history

A person with a criminal history, especially one with at least one similar charge, will likely have a harsher sentence than a first offender. The judge will consider if the crime was out of character or if the person is likely to go straight back out and re-offend.

Victim information

Several things related to the victim have a role in the sentence that the judge hands down. These include:

  • Status of the victim, such as whether they were an on-duty law enforcement officer or public servant
  • Injuries to the victim, which can result in a crime being classified as an aggravated action
  • Damages the victim has to deal with, including financial damages like restoration of identity after identity theft

Anyone who’s facing criminal charges should discuss their case with someone familiar with the judge or court. In some cases, judges are known for handing down certain sentences for specific crimes. The factors discussed earlier in this blog post are still applicable, but it will likely help you to learn what the judge usually does in cases similar to yours.