Monday, July 10, 2017

The Criminal Defense Process Part 15 - Sentencing

The Criminal Defense Process Part 15 – Sentencing

In this video, I am going to talk about sentencing in the context of a criminal defense case. Now, if you have been arrested and charged with a crime, been convicted of that crime, and you have done the other steps including the PSI and LSI-R, you will reach the last stage of the criminal defense process, other than appeals, and that is sentencing. Sentencing is the second part of the verdict which will be delivered against you. If you have already been found guilty, that is the first part. The second part is how much trouble you are going to get in, how much time the judge is either going to put you on probation or sentence you to prison. And as you can imagine, if you have made it to the sentencing phase, you are under a disadvantage. The state has already proven their case, the judge has heard the evidence against you, and there has been a finding of guilt. This is your time to try to mitigate the damages. Now depending on what happened in your case, whether you reached some sort of plea agreement, or whether you went all the way to trial, it is going to dictate largely what happens at your sentencing hearing. If you have reached some sort of plea agreement, there is usually either a defined amount of punishment that you have agreed to accept, whether that is probation or prison, or there is a very narrow difference in opinion between what the state is going to be requesting and what you are going to be requesting. If you went to trial on your case and have been found guilty, the state could ask for the maximum punishment and not be confined by some plea agreement. Also, depending on how your case progressed, whether you went to trial or entered a plea, you may have never actually got to get up in front of a judge and tell your side of the story or try to mitigate the damages against you. This, the sentencing, will be your opportunity. Now what the judge is going to do at sentencing, is he is going to look at your criminal history score, consider the facts and evidence in your case, and is going to look at the severity level of crime in which you were convicted. The judge is going to then, depending if it is an on-grid felony or an off-grid felony, consult the Kansas sentencing grid and look at what your presumptive sentence is by looking at your criminal history, and the severity level of crime you have been convicted of. Now, just because you fall within a certain box on the sentencing grid, does not 100% mean you are either going to get that probation or get that specific amount of time in prison. Your lawyer can ask for something different. Your lawyer can either do that through filing a motion for dispositional departure or a motion for durational departure. When your lawyer files either one of these motions, they are going to be trying to establish a substantial and compelling reason to depart from the sentencing grid. They will basically prove to the judge that you deserve an exception. Now, your lawyer can try to prove that you deserve an exception or that there is a substantial and compelling reason that exists that the judge should depart from the sentencing grid by testimony of witnesses, or having you testify, or just statements of counsel. Arguing a motion for a durational or dispositional departure can be the most crucial part of any sentencing, and in fact can be the most crucial part of the entire criminal defense process depending on your particular case. If you have further questions about sentencing, how it works, or filing a motion for dispositional or durational departure, please view our website,

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