Criminal defendants impact the sentencing outcome, whether they intend to or not. This begins with their decision to hire an attorney, request a public defender, or proceed without legal representation. This decision should not be made lightly as the case outcome will have long term ramifications for years to come.
The following tips provide guidance for achieving the best possible outcome in a criminal case:
3 pillars of an exceptional criminal defense attorney
- RESOURCEFUL – exceptional criminal defense attorneys take the necessary time to communicate with the client and fully advise them of available options, alternatives, and possible outcomes – including collateral risks and consequences.
- PROFESSIONAL – exceptional criminal defense attorneys demonstrate empathy and compassion for the client and they adhere to the ethical rules & obligations of their profession.
- INTELLIGENT – exceptional criminal defense attorneys know their strengths and employ the services of other professionals to compensate for areas of weakness to formulate and implement a case strategy and action plan.
Sentencing Outcomes: 5 things to consider
- The judge determines the punishment after reviewing all available information and consulting with any applicable sentencing guidelines. This information is contained in a presentence report which is typically prepared by probation officer. Defense-based sentencing reports are also used to provide additional relevant information.
- Client factors and circumstances may be identified as either Aggravating or Mitigating Factors which warrant either a lighter or harsher punishment. These factors may include: criminal history, employment, education, substance abuse, mental & physical health, and peer influences .
- Acknowledging personal accountability can make a significant difference in the outcome, whether it is acknowledging the harm degree of harm caused or acknowledging a personal weakness.
- Sentencing is just the beginning of the involvement with the criminal justice system, having & implementing an action plan is a notable way to start.
- How you distinguish yourself matters…
Circumstances That Negatively Impact Sentencing
- Criminal Record
- Attitude – Disrespect/Defiance
- Degree of Harm
Circumstances That Positively Impact Sentencing
- Personal Accountability
- Community Support
- Productive (Prosocial) Lifestyle