Criminal Case

Who Decides Sentencing in Criminal Cases?

When a person is convicted of a crime, one of the most critical decisions that need to be made is the sentence that they will receive. The sentence can range from community service to life imprisonment or even the death penalty in some cases. But who exactly decides what punishment someone should receive?

1. Judges

In most criminal cases, judges are responsible for determining the sentence that a defendant will receive. After reaching a guilty verdict, the judge will consider several factors before deciding on an appropriate sentence. These factors may include the nature and severity of the crime, any aggravating or mitigating factors, and the defendant's prior criminal history.

2. Juries

In some cases, a jury may be responsible for determining the sentence. This usually occurs in capital cases where the death penalty is being considered. In these cases, after finding a defendant guilty, the jury will hear evidence from both sides before deciding on whether to impose the death penalty or life imprisonment without parole.

3. Sentencing Guidelines

In many jurisdictions, judges must follow specific sentencing guidelines when determining an appropriate punishment for a convicted defendant. These guidelines consider various factors, such as the offense committed and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances. While these guidelines do not bind judges, they must provide reasoning if they choose to deviate.

4. Plea Bargains

Another factor that can influence who decides sentencing is plea bargaining. In some cases, defendants may plead guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence. If both parties agree to this arrangement and the court accepts it, there may be little involvement from judges or juries when deciding on an appropriate punishment.

5. Appeals

Finally, it's worth noting that the sentencing decision is not always final. Defendants can appeal their sentence if they believe it was unjust or too harsh. In these cases, a higher court will review the case and determine whether the sentence was appropriate based on the evidence presented at trial.

Wisconsin DUI Defense Lawyers

At Melowski & Singh, LLC, we understand the complexities of the criminal justice system and the nuances of sentencing. Our experienced team of criminal defense attorneys is dedicated to advocating for fair and just outcomes for our clients. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges and is in need of expert legal guidance, we encourage you to contact us. Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you, ensuring that your rights are protected every step of the way. For a consultation, call us at (920) 294-1414 or reach out through our website. Together, we can navigate the intricacies of the legal system and strive for the best possible resolution to your case.