If you are charged with a crime, there are a number of important things that you need to know. First, you should know that you have the right to defend yourself against the charges. Second, you should know that you have the right to legal representation. And third, you should understand what happens if you’re convicted and how a judge determines a sentence, as well as how past convictions on your record may impact your criminal sentence. To learn more, call The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski directly today.
What Factors Impact Sentencing for a Crime?
In most cases, the sentence that a judge issues if a defendant is found guilty in a criminal hearing won’t be arbitrary; instead, it will be based on–
- Statute and statutory minimums. Massachusetts criminal code outlines what the punishments shall be for each type of crime that is committed. In some cases, a judge has discretion, though — they do not need to issue the sentence that is recommended or stated in the statute. In other cases, the judge does not have discretion. If there is a mandatory minimum within the statute, then the defendant will be subjected to the minimum sentence.
- The circumstances of the crime. A judge will likely consider the circumstances and the nature of the crime when issuing a decision about a criminal sentence, too. For example, is the crime a particularly heinous crime? Was the crime committed while the defendant was experiencing great personal stress? Was the defendant an accessory to the crime, or the main actor?
- The defendant’s behavior. How the defendant behaves throughout the trial can have a big impact on the judge’s decision regarding sentencing. If the defendant has been polite and has shown remorse, the judge may be more lenient.
- Criminal background. Someone who is committing an offense for the first time and has a spotless record otherwise likely won’t be punished as harshly as someone who has already been through the criminal system.
If I Have a Criminal Record, Will I Get a Harsher Sentence?
If you have a criminal record, this alone will not get you a harsher sentence in most cases unless there is a mandatory minimum in place, you’ve violated your probation, or there are other special circumstances. However, having a criminal record might make it more difficult for you to get a lesser sentence.
How Can I Improve the Outcome of My Case?
The best way to improve the outcome of your case when you are facing criminal charges, regardless of whether or not you have a criminal background, is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can provide you with representation and support throughout the process. Representing yourself during a criminal case is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Call a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
At The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski, our Massachusetts criminal defense attorney has years of experience and is ready to represent you in your case. To learn more about your options and how our lawyer can help, please call directly today at (978) 397-0011 or send us a message online. We are here to protect your rights and advocate for your interests. All consultations are free.