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What Should You Know About a Sentencing Hearing for a Criminal Case?

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A criminal case does not get settled overnight. In fact, if you are facing charges, you will likely spend the next few months in and out of court attending hearings for the case. Typically, the case will end with a hearing known as sentencing. This is the final hearing you will likely have to be present at, and this hearing is designed for several different things.

You will already know the verdict

When you attend your sentencing hearing, you will already know what the verdict of the case is. In other words, this hearing is not designed to reveal the verdict. Instead, the previous hearing you attended would have revealed this information. The only true purpose of the sentencing hearing is to tell you what the court plans to give you as your punishments for the crime.

If you happened to use a plea bargain instead of a trial, you would already know your punishment for the crime, as the court would have offered this information to you as a way of encouraging you to accept the plea they offered to you.

Your punishment is based on several things

Secondly, when the court comes up with a punishment for you, the punishment they are giving is something that is based on several things. The first factor is the crime. The court has a schedule of crimes and punishments, and they can either give you the most severe punishment for the crime you are charged with, or they can adjust it. Courts have the ability to use their own discretion.

As a court decides on a punishment, they will factor in your past criminal record. If there is nothing on your criminal record, you can expect a lighter punishment than if you are a repeat offender.

The punishment can include multiple things

The punishment a court gives you might not be just one consequence. Instead, the court might have multiple consequences. For example, you might have to spend time in jail and pay restitution to the people you hurt in the crime you committed. If the crime was one that affected others, you might be required to hear from a victim impact panel. This is a group of individuals who will tell their stories about the effects of the crime. You might also end up being required to complete classes or community service. You will receive a letter from the court that lists everything you must do as a result of your criminal charges.

If you have questions about your punishments, you can ask your criminal defense lawyer for more information.