The sentencing phase of a criminal case is often very tense because the proceeding determines the fate of the person convicted of the crime.
Anyone who is facing the sentencing phase of a case should remember that there are specific points that the judge will consider. These can vary depending on the circumstances.
There are guidelines that judges must consider when they are issuing a sentence. These include a sentence range that takes the type of crime into account. Of course, judges have a wide berth, in most cases, to issue sentences that they feel are appropriate. The exception to this occurs when there is a mandatory minimum sentence associated with a conviction. In this case, the judge must issue a sentence that meets this requirement. There are also some cases that have a maximum sentence possible, which also must be followed.
Cruel and unusual punishment not allowed
The Eighth Amendment gives people the right to not have to serve cruel or unusual punishments, pay outrageous fines, or have to put up excessive bail. These factors come into the picture when the judge is issuing a sentence. The judge must consider how the sentence will appear in relation to this amendment. If the sentence doesn't meet these requirements, it might be possible to appeal.
Other factors are considered
Judges consider the person's criminal history when they are deciding on a sentence. This could be a very important factor because there are some sentencing guidelines that take this into account. The judge might also take your own statements into account when sentencing you. This is one reason you might be told to show remorse when you are in court. Of course, you should be remorseful and not just putting on a show. The circumstances of the case, including aggravated circumstances covered under applicable laws, are also factors in the sentence that the judge will hand down. The status of the victim might affect the sentence as well.
When you are working on your defense, you should always take the sentencing phase into account. You should also consider the possibility of an appeal. Both components might seem like they aren't too critical at the beginning of the planning phase, but they usually prove to be important if the jury does find that you are guilty.