Get out of trouble and get back to life. We defend the rights and liberties of good people who are accused of bad things.
It can be difficult and upsetting for a defendant to hear the jury return a guilty verdict. The defendant and their family may feel understandably disappointed with the verdict. A conviction doesn't end the legal battle, though. Juries don't determine your sentence.
Judges usually have broad discretion in deciding what sentence is ultimately handed down. They also have latitude in determining how and where a sentence is served.
Your Des Moines criminal sentencing lawyer’s job is to stay focused and make sure that you receive fair treatment at this final stage of the process.
Clark & Sears Law believes defendants deserve a second chance and that second chance begins at the sentencing hearing. From our Des Moines office, we serve all of Polk County and across Story, Boone, Warren, & Dallas counties.
They were dedicated to me and my case while handling other cases at the same time and never gave me the impression that my issue was any less important than the others.- Cliff B.
After the jury verdict, the judge will schedule a separate hearing to determine sentencing. Depending on the offense involved, the judge will have guidelines issued by both the state of Iowa and the U.S. government that need to be followed. Whether the judge opts for a strict application of the guidelines, or a more compassionate approach may well come down to the work of the Des Moines criminal sentencing lawyer.
The sentencing process includes an investigative report provided to the judge. The report will include details such as whether or not the defendant was a habitual offender and other information about their family life.
A victim impact statement may be a part of this process, where the judge hears from the victim and perhaps their family and friends over how the crime affected their lives. The good news is that the defendant can also summon witnesses on their own behalf, to give witness to their character. A defendant may choose to offer words of regret to the victim at this point. This is an opportunity for the defense team to make the case for leniency.
What Factors Are Considered In Sentencing By A Des Moines Judge?
A judge hears all of the testimony described above. The sentencing options given to a judge may include the possibility of probation, community service or victim restitution.
The judge will likely consider the defendant’s background, from looking at their family history to employment record to their age, in addition to any previous criminal record. The judge is ultimately seeking to determine whether the defendant is a real threat to society or if this was a one-time mistake. A Des Moines criminal sentencing lawyer, one who understands how the system works, can present the defendant’s case in the best possible light.
A defendant’s life isn’t over when a guilty verdict is read, as much as they might feel that way at the time. How their sentence is structured–from the length of jail time (if any) to opportunities for probation and parole–can go a long way in deciding what the defendant’s life will look like after this is all behind them. The sentencing part of criminal defense is an important–but often overlooked part–of legal defense strategies.
It isn’t overlooked by Clark & Sears Law. We believe that everyone deserves a chance to start over, and we know that whether that chance is given may well depend on what happens in criminal sentencing. From our Des Moines office we serve all of Polk County, in addition to Story, Boone, Warren, & Dallas Counties.