The Sentencing Hearing Requires Careful and Smart Preparation

Few hearings cause a defendant more anxiety than sentencing. A judge can impose jail or prison, probation, fines, and other penalties. Careful preparation is crucial to obtaining the best possible result.

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How to Prepare for a Sentencing Hearing

Facing sentencing for a criminal conviction, whether for a felony or a misdemeanor, can be daunting and stressful. At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we understand the gravity of this moment in your life and are committed to helping our clients prepare for this critical stage. This blog contains valuable information and practical tips for those awaiting sentencing, helping you navigate the process and work towards the best possible outcome. Reading the information below will ensure you know how to prepare for sentencing and achieve the best possible outcome.

Understanding the Sentencing Process – What to Expect

Before you can effectively prepare for sentencing, it’s crucial to understand how the process works. In Michigan, sentencing for criminal convictions can involve various outcomes, such as jail or prison time, probation with specific terms and conditions, and fines. Several factors, including the nature of the offense, your criminal history, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances, can influence the judge’s decision.

The step following a criminal conviction, by plea or trial, is sentencing. For misdemeanor convictions, the judge might sentence the defendant the same day. In felony cases and most misdemeanor cases, the court schedules the sentencing hearing weeks or months later.

Gather Supporting Documents

One way to positively influence your sentencing outcome is by gathering documents showcasing your character, accomplishments, and circumstances. This documentation can include letters of support and character references from supportive people, including employers, friends, religious affiliations, community leaders, or family members. Evidence of rehabilitative efforts, such as counseling or substance abuse treatment, can also be beneficial. You are in the best position to get letters and verification of positive things you’re doing to improve your life. Ensure you get everything you can to your lawyer in time for them to organize it, provide it to the judge, and prepare for the sentencing hearing.

Your criminal defense lawyer must review what documents are helpful to you. Once collected, the documents should be provided to your lawyer, never to the Court directly. If you have questions or ideas about what might be helpful, never hesitate to collaborate with your lawyer. They should be willing to talk with you and do whatever is necessary to fight for the best possible outcome.

For example, the defense attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. review all supporting documents to ensure maximum persuasiveness and accuracy. They help their clients obtain additional documentation (when desirable) and submit the supportive, mitigating materials to the court in the manner the particular judge desires. It might not be too late to switch to a more effective lawyer if your attorney isn’t doing this for you. Free Consultation. (248) 263-6800.

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Presentence Report and Investigation

After the plea or trial conviction, judges usually order their probation department to conduct a presentence investigation and prepare a court report called a Presentence Investigation Report or PSIR. The probation interview generally consists of biographical questions involving the defendant’s education, criminal record, work history, family, and financial status. Some probation officers will ask the defendant their version of the incident and how they feel about it. Lawyers are permitted to attend presentence investigation interviews in felony cases. The defense lawyers at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. always help their clients prepare for sentencing and the presentence interview.

Comply with Bond and all Court Orders

One of the best predictors of whether a defendant will comply with probation is whether they were compliant on pretrial release. Bond violations, such as positive drug or alcohol tests, new criminal activity, and violations of no-contact orders, make it much more challenging to get a lenient sentence. It is vital that the defendant appear at least a few minutes early for all appointments and court dates and be dressed in at least business casual attire. For those defendants eligible for a sentence of a fine, instead of probation or jail, it is essential to make a good, respectful impression throughout the proceedings. Defendants who are disrespectful to the judge, the prosecutor, or their lawyer, who are loud in court, dress inappropriately, or violate bond, tend to receive a harsher sentence.

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How to Prepare a Sentencing Statement

At the sentencing hearing, the defense lawyer and prosecutor argue their respective positions on sentencing. Before the judge imposes the sentence, the defendant generally gets to make a statement. The defendant’s statement is called their “allocution.” The allocution is their chance to express remorse, explain any mitigating factors, and show the court their commitment to making positive changes.

In your sentencing statement, you want to demonstrate a constructive, credible, and realistic plan for the future. This plan should demonstrate your commitment to rehabilitation, community service, employment, or education. It is vital that you work with your attorney to prepare a statement that is sincere and impactful.

Plan for All Possible Outcomes

It’s crucial to prepare for all potential outcomes, including the possibility of incarceration. Unless you have a binding agreement from the judge for no incarceration, you should discuss with your attorney what steps you can take in advance, such as arranging care for dependents and handling your potential absence from school or employment. Although your lawyer can give you an idea of the probable outcomes, no lawyer can guarantee a specific sentence unless they have a formal agreement with the judge in exchange for a plea, such as a sentence agreement or Killebrew agreement.

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Our Team Helps Clients Prepare for Sentencing To Achieve Extraordinary Results

Preparing for sentencing is a critical step in your legal process. At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., we are committed to providing our clients with comprehensive support and expert legal representation during this challenging time. When facing the prospect of sentencing, including the possibility of jail, prison, or probation, there is no substitute for experienced, skilled, and respected defense counsel. Your criminal defense lawyer’s skill, talent, and preparation can make the difference between you leaving the courtroom out of the front door (into the parking lot) or the back door (into a jail cell).

If you are not 100% confident with your legal representation, you might need to consider changing attorneys before the sentencing hearing.

For more information or to discuss your case, please contact us for a free consultation. We will take the time to talk with you, answer your questions, and work with you to develop a winning sentencing strategy.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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