If you are convicted of a crime or plead guilty to one, then you are likely to have a sentencing hearing. Too often, defendants do not realize what their rights are or how important these hearings are. Keep reading to learn the importance of a sentencing hearing and your rights, then contact Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney who can fight for your rights.
Your Rights at a Sentencing Hearing
You have a series of rights at a sentencing hearing, but some of the most important are the right to be present at your sentencing, the right to have an attorney representing you, the right to present evidence on your behalf, and the right to propose an alternative sentencing option (such as drug counseling for drug crimes).
You also have the right to be arraigned for your judgment, which means that you will be advised of the criminal charges you are facing, the pleas that have been entered, and the verdict or judgment that has been returned on the plea. One important right you do not have at a sentencing hearing is the right to confront or cross-examine witnesses.
The Sentencing Hearing Can Be Very Important
It is all too common for a person to assume that once they have been found guilty, there is not much that can be done for them. This is false. For example, if you are found guilty of more than one crime, the judge will determine at the sentencing hearing whether your sentences will be served at the same time (concurrently) or if you will serve one and then start serving another (consecutively). This could mean decades more in prison.
The Judge Will Consider Many Factors When Returning a Sentence
While there are laws in California that somewhat hinder a judge’s ability to return a sentence as they see fit, the judge does have some discretion. For example, they can determine if you should serve the maximum, minimum, or mid-range penalty for the crime you are convicted of. They can determine if part of your sentence can be served on probation, known as a split sentence. They have a lot of say and what happens at your hearing can have a big impact on what they decide.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today
Now is the time to contact a criminal defense attorney that is ready to help you. Call Law Office of Michael L. Fell at (949) 585-9055 to request a free legal consultation. This is a serious situation you are facing and we can fight for your rights.