How and when is sentencing determined?

The judge presiding over the case sentences a defendant who has been found guilty or has pleaded guilty. Using state guidelines, (sentences are expressed in terms of minimums, maximums, and other options), the judge sentences the defendant in a manner appropriate to the crime and other circumstances related to the case. The defendant may be sentenced to jail or placed on probation or ordered to make restitution or ordered to pay court costs and/or a fine. Before making his/her decision, however, the judge will usually have the opportunity to review a pre-sentence report which is an evaluation of the defendant prepared for the sentencing judge by the probation department. It contains a recommendation as to probation or incarceration and is an important factor in the judge’s decision. A victim may be contacted by a pre-sentence investigator for information in preparing the report. A victim will also have a chance to present either a written or oral victim impact statement at sentencing. The statements can relate only to the facts of the case and any personal injury or financial loss incurred by the victim. A member of the immediate family of the victim may appear personally or by a person of their choosing to making a statement if the victim is otherwise unable, for any reasons, to appear as a result of the offense committed by the defendant.

Show All Answers

1. What is a subpoena?
2. How does a complaint become a criminal case?
3. What is an omnibus hearing?
4. What if the judge decides there is not sufficient evidence at the omnibus hearing?
5. Do cases always go to trial if they are not dismissed?
6. What happens in a trial?
7. How and when is sentencing determined?
8. What if I change my mind about prosecuting or testifying?
9. What if the defense attorney contacts me about the case?
10. What if someone threatens me to drop the charges?
11. Should I be concerned if months pass without hearing from the court or the County Attorney’s Office?
12. Coming to Court – Can I be compensated?
13. Can I be compensated for losses I have suffered as a victim?