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Know what factors impact criminal sentencing

A person who is facing a criminal charge has a few possible ways of resolving the matter. Many people choose to work out a plea deal with the prosecution. Others plead guilty and throw themselves on the mercy of the court. Some take their case to trial. There are many things that the defense might consider during the process of making this decision. One of these is the sentence that the person is facing.

When a person is convicted of a crime, the court will need to determine what sentence to hand down. The prosecution may recommend one, but there are several factors that the court has to look at when deciding exactly what sentence is appropriate for the case. It's a violation of the person's constitutional rights to have a punishment that's overly harsh.

Criminal statutes have terms in them that outline what sentence range will be possible for a person who's convicted of the crime. In some cases, it is spelled out completely. In other instances, the crime is assigned a specific category, which is denoted as the degree for a felony.

Judges who are determining sentences will look into several factors related to the case to determine exactly what to sentence a person to. These include:

  • The person's criminal history
  • The specific circumstances of the case, such as the presence of stress or duress
  • The impact on the victims, including any physical injuries
  • The status of the defendant as the main culprit or an accessory

The sentence range that you're looking at might play a role in your defense strategy if you're facing criminal charges. Your attorney can help to explain the possibilities to you, so you know what might happen.

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