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How is Criminal Sentencing Decided?

Criminal sentencing is a big deal right now in the news, especially with many trial outcomes being broadcast, and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to determining the punishment for a crime. What if the defendant has no previous offenses? Or what if the defendant actually has a long track record? This is just one of many factors affecting what penalties will be assigned to the accused.

Sentencing is the phase that occurs right after conviction-whether it be via plea bargain, jury trial, or a guilty plea. Sentencing typically takes less time when the defendant has committed a minor offense or if a guilty plea was entered. But in more complicated cases involving serious felonies, the sentencing judge will usually request input from the prosecutor, the defense, and the probation department.

What are the types of sentencing?

Sentencing may be as simple as a one-time fine (and no criminal record) to prison incarceration. Incarceration in prison is a long-term sentence usually reserved for felony crimes. Most first-time offenders whose crimes are not serious will be considered forprobation or a short jail sentence.

Many of us have also seen the orange jumpsuit workers on the side of the road. This is because community service is also a form of punishment and a certain number of hours may be required to receive a lesser sentence. For crimes involving alcohol, rehabilitation programs or mandatory counseling may be required. In addition, an ignition interlock device may be considered as part of the sentence so that defendants have mandatory breathalyzers each time they would like to operate a vehicle.

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