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What Happens Before A Sentence Is Imposed In Federal Court?

Prior to a sentence being imposed in a federal criminal or white-collar crime case, there’s a lot that happens. The judge, prosecutor, your attorney, a probation officer, and other parties are all involved. It can take several months before the convict’s sentencing hearing. It may be a period of exceptional stress due to the very nature of the process and the potential results of such. Depending on the type of crime committed, background, and other aggravating or mitigating factors, the sentence can vary considerably. In some scenarios, there may not be any jail time at all.

Meeting with a probation officer is the first step:

A probation officer prepares a presentencing report. This report is a comprehensive listing of the subject’s background. It takes many different factors into consideration such as social background, work history, criminal background, financial status, and potentially more.

After the presentencing report is completed:

The presentencing report is distributed to everyone involved in the matter including the convicted party. The convicted patty and their attorney will review the report together, typically. This is to determine if the report is accurate and if any objections need to be raised. This is a very important step as it is one of the biggest determining factors in the convict’s sentencing.

Behind the scenes:

There’s a lot that’s happening behind the scenes. The judge works with assistants to research past sentences in similar court cases. The judge tries to gather this information from as many sources as possible to ensure that they have a fair and objective understanding. The judge also takes into consideration the testimony that’s been given in court. He or she reviews the documents, evidence, and anything else that would help in determining what type of sentence would be appropriate.

The death sentence:

The death sentence is reserved for cases that warrant it such as capital murder. It’s only given if a jury decides it’s an appropriate consideration. Other factors that are considered include whether the convicted party is mentally competent and if they’re over the age of 18. Otherwise, the death sentence is a form of “cruel and unusual punishment.” Protections against this type of practice are guaranteed by the US Constitution.

The sentencing memorandum:

A sentencing memorandum is a comprehensive document that’s composed by the convict’s attorney. The document speaks to the character of the convicted and their reputation in general. It may also include references by the convict’s friends, family members, coworkers, members of the community, and more. The intent of this memorandum is to give the judge and everyone else involved one last push for a more lenient sentence. This technique has been highly successful in many cases.

The sentencing trial:

During the sentencing trial, the judge will announce the sentence that is to be imposed. The judge has already done their homework; however, the final sentence isn’t set in stone quite yet. The judge will listen to the prosecution, the convict’s attorney, and the convicted. It’s important that the convicted work with their attorney to prepare what is to be said and rehearsing it prior to the sentencing trial. This gives the greatest chance of success in getting the most lenient sentence. After the information is presented, the judge will then speak on the matter. He or she will also announce the final sentence. If the attorney and the convicted disagree with the sentence, they may file post-trial motions or an appeal, depending on the particular action requested and the circumstances. The Department of Justice, Offices of the United States Attorneys website offers great insight on the sentencing process and much more. Click here to visit the Department of Justice’s website.

Selecting an attorney or hiring a new attorney:

If you’re in need of an attorney or were dissatisfied with your old attorney, it’s imperative that you seek one out. An attorney is an absolute necessity in any federal court matter and especially during the sentencing process. During this time, they’ll help you more than ever before in getting you the best possible sentence and terms. A no-risk consultation will give you the chance to ask questions and have your questions answered. We’re available whenever you happen to need us. Get in touch online or by telephone to get the representation you want and deserve, today.

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Manhattan

85 Broad Street, 30th Floor
New York, NY 10005

Phone

888-977-6335

Queens

35-37 36th St,
Astoria, NY 11106

Phone

888-977-6335

Brooklyn

195 Montague St.
14th Floor,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Phone

888-977-6335