Sentencing hearings allow individual who have been convicted of a crime the opportunity to reduce potential punishments and penalties. Sentencing hearings only arise after an individual enters a guilty plea or a no contest plea to a criminal charge or when an individual is convicted of at least one charge by a jury or judge. Before a judge decides the penalty that results from a conviction, individuals have the opportunity to voice their opinion of what the just penalty should be. As a result of the opportunity to have one's complaints heard, individuals benefit substantially from the use of expert legal counsel during sentencing hearings. Individuals also benefit from understanding the essential elements of how a sentencing hearing proceeds in the state of Alabama.
The Length Of A Sentencing Hearing In Alabama
The length of a sentencing hearing is largely based on how complicated the case at hand is. If a sentence has been decided during plea negotiations, the judge has only to make an official statement about the resulting penalty. When a sentence has the potential to include either a substantial prison sentence or other severe consequences, a sentencing hearing is likely to take a substantially longer amount of time.
Factors That Influence A Sentencing Hearing
There are several major factors that influence a judge's decision when a sentencing hearing occurs. First, a judge looks towards oral statements from an open court. These statements include comments made by the defendant, the defense attorney, the prosecutor, and any potential victims. Judges also look to pre-sentence reports provided by probation officers. These reports are written by probation officers during the course of a hearing. If the charge involves a misdemeanor, these sentences are normally assigned quickly by a judge and often involve a prison sentence between six months to one year in jail. If a felony is involved, a judge has many other potential factors to consider when deciding an individual's sentence.
How Sentencing Hearings Proceed In Alabama
At sentencing hearings in the state of Alabama, both sides of the case have the opportunity to present witnesses and other types of evidence to argue either side of a case.
Minimum Mandatory Sentences in Alabama Sentencing Hearings
Minimum mandatory sentences are required in sentencing hearings. Minimum mandatory sentences are sentences that a judge must meet when assigning a penalty at a sentencing hearing. These sentences exist for both state and federal cases. Only the opposing legal counsel has the ability to waive a minimum mandatory sentence. Minimum mandatory sentences are a primary concern when judges assign a penalty at the end of a sentencing hearing.
How An Experienced Birmingham Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
A skilled Birmingham criminal defense attorney will know how to deliver a convincing argument at a sentencing hearing that will have a substantial impact on how the defendant is perceived and subsequently treated by a court of law. If you are faced with a sentencing hearing, understand that the services of experienced legal counsel can help a client make sure that the hearing unfolds in the best possible manner. At Eversole Law LLC, our legal counsel has the talent to make sure that clients have the best opportunity at obtaining favorable results.