What Happens Before A Sentence Is Imposed In Federal Court?

A criminal conviction can take time. The jury or the judge must listen to evidence. Lawyers for both sides need to make a case as to why the person is innocent or has committed the crime. This process can take days or even weeks. Ultimately, someone with power must render a verdict. After someone has been found guilty, there’s also a process. While not as well known, it is a highly detailed process that involves a serious of steps that must be followed. Knowing what’s going to happen can make anyone convicted of a crime understand what they need to do, what their lawyers will do and how the process before the final judgment in a sentence is imposed is likely to proceed. It will mostly likely happen ninety days after the guilty verdict or plea.

A Sentencing

The process of sentencing can take time and use terms that can be unfamiliar to the lay person. A sentence is when the judge announces how the specifics of punishment. They will tell the defendant if they are going to jail or prison and for how long. The sentencing may also include a term of probation and any fines. Before this process can take place, the judge will typically consider many factors. The courts want to make sure that they have all the data they need in order to make a final determination. While stating a verdict typically only takes a few minutes, the process that happens before the judge states anything can take awhile.

In order to make this decision, the courts ask officials to gather important information about the defendant’s background as well as any other details of the case they would to consider. A probation officer will sit with the person who has been convicted and have an in-depth interview. This lengthy interview is a prelude that serves as the basis for a report that will be submitted to the judge. At that point, once they have enough information, they’ll write a presentencing report. The report seeks to give the judge a full social history in great detail. The goal is to help determine if the defendant understands the severity of their crime, the background that led them to it and if they may pose a danger to society at this point. It’s imperative to answer all questions accurately and speak truthfully about your background. You do have the right to refuse to answer certain questions if you feel they are not appropriate or helpful to your case.

Defendants who have been released on bail can expect additional searches. They will be tested for drug use. The officer will also examine the person’s living conditions right now in order to determine if there are any possible violations of the conditions of their bail. Your family members may be interviewed to confirm any data you’ve given about your actions. The officer has the ability to check records including your history of employment and your medical and tax records.

There are certain instances where this process is relatively brief. A defendant may have made a highly detailed plea agreement. The plea agreement will state an admission of guilt and then what’s going to happen. For example, the person has agreed to pay a thousand dollar fine and accept six months in jail and five years of probation. However, the process can also be more complicated, especially if the person has pleaded not guilty.

A judge also has to adhere to a series of guidelines. These guidelines look into the offense level as well as what is known as the person’s criminal history. Your lawyer wants to make a case that you are eligible for the lowest possible sentence based on as many factors as they can find to show the probation officer. You and your lawyer have the right to read the report. You can object to anything you find in it if you think it’s not accurate. It is your lawyer’s responsibility to point out any errors that have been and make sure they are corrected. The probation offer’s report will include what that person thinks is an appropriate sentence in your case. The judge is allowed to read the report and consider it but they do not have to follow the officer’s recommendations. Your lawyer will also prepare a document that is all about showing you in the best light. You have the right to ask people to speak on your behalf and verify your good character. The judge will keep in mind many points of view when creating a final sentence. Your goal and that of your lawyer should be to make sure that your personal actions are seen in the best possible legal light. A good lawyer is essential during this time in your life.