During the sentencing hearing, the judge will analyze the pre-sentence report, and he or she will listen to arguments from the prosecution, defense, and even the victim.
What Is a Sentencing Hearing?
A defendant’s sentencing hearing represents the final step in a criminal prosecution. It differs from the trial itself, in that the judge is the only one who decides the official sentence. He or she does have a bit of assistance in the form of a pre-sentencing letter to the judge, which is prepared by a probation officer after an investigation.
The judge is responsible for giving the length of the sentence and for announcing whether the defendant will be facing probation or imprisonment.
If at any point during this article you feel like talking to our knowledgeable and caring staff, contact the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer today. We’re here for you.
What Happens at a Sentencing Hearing?
What happens when you get sentenced in court? The following three sections will explain in more detail.
How Long from Plea to Sentencing?
With minor misdemeanors, the judge will usually sentence immediately following the defendant’s plea: guilty, no contest, or found guilty after the trial. However, when substantial incarceration is on the line, the judge may take a few days or even weeks to impose the exact sentence. This would occur at a different scheduled hearing.
Most of the time, the sentencing takes a few moments. This is certainly likely if the judge is officially going with the agreed-upon sentence in the plea negotiations. For instance, a judge may sentence the defendant with a fine, 30 days in jail suspended, and a year of probation.
Felony sentences can come quickly, too, when the sentence is part of a plea bargain. In less than ten minutes, someone can be facing seven years in prison.
It would be misleading to say it’s always a short-lived process. After all, the judge does possess the legal authority to order longer terms of imprisonment. The pre-sentencing report tends to speed up the hearing. Both the prosecution and defense are given the opportunity to argue for or against those recommendations and facts in the report.
Sentencing Day What to Expect
First, we’ll talk about who will be present. The defendant, defense counsel and district attorney will be in attendance.
The flow of the hearing is very similar to that of the trial. The state addresses the court initially, and then the district attorney speaks to the judge, highlighting evidence culled from the trial and sentencing report. The district attorney makes an argument for the sentence that the state has deemed fitting.
Then, the defense addresses the court, highlighting their own evidence that supports the defendant’s proposed sentence. Following that, if there’s a victim in the case, either the family of that victim or the actual victim will be allowed the chance to speak to the court.
Finally, the defendant will be given the chance to speak the last word. This may be the first, last, and essentially the only time a defendant speaks in open court. It’s different than testifying when at trial. This time, there is no advantage to waiving the opportunity.
When the defendant is finished speaking, the judge pronounces the sentence. In general, this happens directly after the presentations or following a brief recess. In more extensive and complex cases, the judge may opt for a day or two to make a determination regarding the sentence. However, this is extremely rare.
Things to Say to a Judge Before Sentencing
No one will be able to speak more persuasively than the defendant, preparing to face his or her sentence. These individuals have the right to speak on their own behalf in these moments before the judge determines the sentence.
Defendants will want to work closely with their lawyers to prepare for the “defendant’s right of allocution” so that they will understand exactly what to say, if anything, to the judge.
Having an experienced and trusted federal criminal appeals attorney in your corner can be very helpful. Look to the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer for more help.
What Is a Sentence Review Hearing?
At some point, the court will set a sentence review hearing to decide whether the conditions of the sentence have been met with compliance. Unless a defendant is certain that he or she has met all court orders, they should not make an appearance at this hearing without contacting a lawyer.
If you have an attorney on retainer, seek their advice. If you do not have an attorney, be sure you contact one as soon as you get notice of the sentence review hearing. If you are certain that you have not been compliant with the court’s orders, it is imperative that you seek out legal counsel as soon as possible.
Are Sentencing Hearings Open to the Public?
Your sentencing hearing will take place in an open court – exactly as trials do.
Do You Go to Jail Right After Sentencing?
What happens after sentencing? When do you go to jail after sentencing? Do you go to jail immediately after sentencing? We’ll talk about all that here.
What Happens After a Sentencing Hearing?
If court case sentences are for imprisonment, defendants are taken into custody to wait for their transportation to prison. So, to answer a popular question – when do you report to jail after sentencing? – immediately.
If the federal sentencing hearing was for treatment or probation, then a defendant would be required to schedule and make arrangements with proper officials and entities for enrollment in a particular program(s) and for approved supervision.
How to Get Someone Out of Jail After Sentencing
You might be curious about how to get out of jail after sentencing. Largely, individual state’s laws are responsible for establishing the circumstances in which a defendant might make bail as they await the resolution of a criminal appeal.
If you or a loved one have been convicted of a crime and face a federal court sentencing of jail or prison, you may be after an appeal. Attorneys who specialize in appeals will be able to look at your specific case, analyze it, and explain to you whether bail is possible and how you may achieve it.
If you or a loved one is facing a federal crime, don’t begin the federal court sentencing procedure alone. You may still be worried about what happens after sentencing in federal court, appeals, and so much more. Act now.
Contact the Law Offices of Seth Kretzer today for more help.