When your case is dismissed, that marks the end of your legal proceedings. The court no longer has jurisdiction over your case, and while there’s a slim chance of charges being refiled, it’s an exceptionally rare occurrence. Dismissal generally brings complete closure to your case and the beginning of a new chapter of your life.
However, if your charges are reduced, you’ll have a new set of terms and stipulations of the court that you’ll have to comply with, including probation, fines, classes, or even jail time. The extent of these requirements hinges on the specifics of the charge reduction and the court’s directives.
The impact of your arrest and/or conviction on your record is inevitable. As in the case of dismissal, the fact you’ve been arrested won’t magically go away. This sort of information is always retrievable on the internet. Reduced charges or a conviction will also reflect on your record. Don’t lose heart, though — there is something you can do to counter this: an expungement motion. Even if you’ve been convicted or faced reduced charges and served probation, at the end of this period, an expungement motion will effectively present your case as dismissed.
I always advise my clients, regardless of the duration of their probation, that if everything proceeds smoothly during that period, I’ll reach out to them afterward to discuss expungement. This process is designed to make your record appear as though the case was dismissed, offering a significant advantage for individuals looking to move forward with a clean slate.
I actively encourage anyone with questions about expungements to contact an attorney about this right every criminal defendant possesses. Having a sufficient level of understanding of its relevance to your situation can be a giant step towards securing a cleaner, more favorable record and future.
Following a conviction, you hold the right to defer your sentencing for up to six weeks. However, it’s common to opt for immediate sentencing, especially if you have entered into a plea bargain. The procedural norm aligns with promptly delivering the sentence when a plea agreement is reached.
Conversely, if you are convicted by a jury, the process typically involves an entirely different timeline. It is customary to return for sentencing 10, 15, or even 30 days later. This allows for a cool-off period after the jury’s verdict where it can reflect and ensure that the sentencing judge. The rationale here is for it to deliver a measured and thoughtful sentence after being removed from the case and thoroughly considering all factors.
In my practice, I adhere to these established customs. When a plea bargain is on the table, my preference is to secure the sentencing on the record at the moment the plea agreement is finalized. On the other hand, if the conviction results from a jury trial, introducing a brief cooling-off period before the judge imposes the sentence is generally prudent. This approach allows for a more considered and deliberate sentencing decision after the intensity of the trial has subsided.
When a jury renders a conviction, the judge evaluates several key elements to determine the appropriate sentence. The primary consideration is, naturally, the nature of the conviction itself — what specific offense you have been found guilty of. This serves as the foundational and most substantial factor in the sentencing decision.
Beyond things strictly outlined in the law, judges also frequently factor in what might be termed human factors. These encompass a range of elements, such as expression of remorse, any circumstances that led to the involvement in criminal activities, and potential avenues for rehabilitation. If you have any opportunity to undergo rehabilitation between conviction and sentencing, these too can be significant in shaping the outcome of your sentence.
The delay between conviction and sentencing allows for these human factors to be brought to light and carefully considered. In some instances, a sentencing memorandum may be crafted. This document, which the judge reviews before the sentencing, can have a substantial impact and potentially reduce the length of your sentence by months or even years. It serves as a means of highlighting relevant human factors, showcasing the potential for rehabilitation, and providing a comprehensive perspective for the judge.
Even in the aftermath of a conviction, there’s still work to do. Remaining engaged with your criminal defense lawyer is essential. They will be instrumental in successfully navigating the post-conviction process, with the aim of minimizing the penalties and securing the most favorable outcome possible.
There are some proactive measures you can take prior to your sentencing hearing that may potentially help shape the outcome.
Letters Of Reference
Get letters of reference from anyone who can attest to your character and the positive contributions you’ve made to society. This could include references from clergy, employers, or other people in positions of authority. These letters should provide insights into your character and show the judge why you deserve a relaxed sentence rather than a strict one.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with this. If possible, go as far as to seek reference for favor from the judge from well-respected and widely known figures, such as politicians, community leaders, or notable people in your field of work. This support can carry weight and potentially impact the court’s perception of your case.
Gather evidence of community service, charitable work, or positive contributions you’ve made to your community over time. This can highlight your involvement and commitment to making a positive impact, potentially swaying the court toward a more favorable sentence.
Testimonials From Relevant Professionals
In certain cases, obtaining testimony from professionals involved in your defense, such as probation officers or counselors, can prove invaluable. For instance, showcasing positive relationships with probation officers from previous cases can be particularly beneficial, as has been the case for clients I’ve served throughout the course of my career.
Strategize With Your Defense Lawyer
Work closely with your defense lawyer to identify and execute other means by which you can reduce your sentence. Your lawyer may gather statements from investigators, present evidence of your cooperation, or highlight any circumstances that may justify a more lenient sentence.
For more information on Potential Sentencing In A Criminal Case, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (310) 879-5616 today.