While moving through the court process in California, a defendant will go through the sentencing phase. A judge will decide, after a criminal defendant pleads guilty or is convicted, on an appropriate punishing during the sentencing.

What to Expect

During Sentencing

During this phase, a number of different punishments may be imposed on a convicted defendant. These punishments can include community service; drug and alcohol rehabilitation; fines; short-term jail time; prison time; and/or probation. A defendant can expect to be sentenced shortly after he or she pleads guilty. This process immediately follows minor misdemeanors and infractions. Sentencing for a felony conviction usually takes longer, as the judge works with the defense and prosecution to determine the most adequate punishments for the crime.

At a California hearing, the defense presents why the punishment and penalties should be minimized. In addition, the prosecution presents information to demonstrate why the sentence should be severe. When going through the court process in California, it is crucial to have a skilled criminal defense attorney working to convince the judge to go easy on his or her client. Before declaring the sentence for a felony conviction, the judge also takes into consideration the case facts; the defendant’s criminal history; the nature of the crime; the manner in which the crime was committed; and how the crime impacted the victim; the defendant’s remorse or lack of remorse, among other factors.

A Defendant’s Rights During Sentencing

According to California Penal Code 1193, the defendant does have rights during this phase. These rights include: the right to be present at the sentencing; the right to have an attorney present at the sentencing; the right to present evidence on his/her behalf; and the right to request an alternative sentencing, such as drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

A Victim’s Role in the Sentencing

A victim can be called upon during this phase to provide a statement to the judge. The judge will review the statement during the sentencing phase to help him or her best determine the most appropriate punishments. The victim’s statement may focus on how the crime impacted his or her life and the pain suffered through the crime, and highlight why a harsh sentence is justified. The judge may also ask the victim to provide his or her version of the offense and to discuss the damages suffered, as part of the official victim’s statement. A victim may be impacted emotionally, financially, and/or physically by the crime. A judge may also request a victim statement to decide upon whether restitution from the defendant is reasonable.

More information

Determining what sentence a court should impose can be a difficult process. If you have been charted or convicted of a crime in California, consult an experienced criminal attorney in your area. The Law Office Peter Blair is here to help you and offers a free consultation!