Criminal Sentencing Explained
By San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
Sentencing is the hearing where the court hands down the punishment to the defendant. Sentencing is conducted when the defendant is found Guilty by way of Plea or Verdict. The defense has the same opportunity to argue at the hearing. Defense counsel can introduce mitigating evidence and argue that justice requires leniency.
Types of Sentences
The judge has wide discretion to hand down punishment after a Guilty finding. But the essential Sentencing question is whether the defendant will receive an incarceration term or not? The judge has discretion to grant probation in lieu of a jail or prison.
The court can sentence the defendant to Summary Probation (aka, Probation to the Court). Summary Probation does not involve criminal supervision. The defendant will not be assigned a probation officer. Also, the court will impose conditions and obligations on the defendant.
The court can sentence defendant to Formal Probation. Defendant will be assigned a probation officer who will supervise defendant. In addition, the court and the probation officer will impose conditions and obligations on defendant. The defendant will have regular review hearings to see how he is doing on probation.
The court can sentence the defendant to a term of incarceration in the county jail. County jail is also known as “local incarceration” and is imposed for terms lower than 1 year.
The court can sentence the defendant to State Prison. State Prison can only be given for Felony Offenses and for incarceration terms longer than 1 year.
Judges must consider California Rule of Court 4.410 when setting the sentence in a criminal case. This rule states the general objectives of sentencing shall include:
- Protecting Society;
- Punishing the defendant;
- Encouraging the defendant to lead a law-abiding life in the future and deterring him or her from future offenses;
- Deterring others from criminal conduct by demonstrating its consequences;
- Preventing the defendant from committing new crimes by isolating him or her for the period of incarceration;
- Securing restitution for the victims of crime; and
- Achieving uniformity in sentencing.
Learn More …
The Sentencing hearing is an opportunity for you to receive a lenient sentence in your case. Our attorneys have conducted countless Sentencing Hearings on behalf of clients and have achieved great results.
If you or a loved one is currently being charged with a crime, and would like to discuss it one-on-one with a San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney, contact The Hullinger Firm, PC at 619-649-2424 for a free & confidential consultation.
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Scott Hullinger, Esq.
Criminal and Civil Attorney