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Basics of sentencing in a criminal case

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2022 | Criminal Defense

One of the first things a person who’s facing criminal charges wants to know is what type of sentence they may have to deal with if they’re convicted of the crime. It’s virtually impossible to figure this out because there are so many factors that go into the sentencing process. 

In many cases, there’s more than one type of sentence handed down for a conviction. Understanding a little about different types of sentences and some of the factors that go into determining a sentence may help you make decisions. 

Sentencing factors and types

Most criminal charges have recommended sentencing ranges that judges use to determine how to handle convictions. Other factors, such as the person’s criminal history, specifics of the crime and presence of remorse are also considered during the sentencing phase

Common types of sentences include:

  • Probation: The person lives in the community under the supervision of an officer of the court
  • Incarceration: A person spends time in jail or prison
  • Fines and court costs: Pays a specific amount of money to the court system
  • Community service: A person does work without pay in the community
  • Alternative programs: A person goes through a program like Drug Court

The court will also determine whether the sentences should be served concurrently or consecutively. Concurrent sentences are served at the same time. Consecutive sentences are served one after the other. 

Ensure you understand the possible sentences you’ll likely face if you’re convicted. This may help to shape your defense strategy. Working with someone familiar with the applicable laws can help you determine what you feel is best for your case.