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The SENTENCING

If you are convicted, whether after trial, or after pleading guilty, you will be sentenced by the judge. You, your lawyer, the prosecutor and, in some cases, the victim of your crime, if any, will all have a chance to be heard by the judge as to your sentence. If you are convicted of murder in the first degree, for which death is a possible sentence, a sentencing proceeding will then be held before a jury which will decide whether you should be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Before sentencing in a case where death is not a possible sentence, the Department of Probation will prepare a report for the judge (pre-sentence report) containing information about your background and the circumstances of the crime. You may be interviewed by the probation officer preparing the report. Your cooperation with the Department of Probation may be a factor in the probation officer's evaluation of you. Your lawyer and the prosecutor may also prepare pre-sentence memoranda for the judge.

The sentence you receive will depend on a variety of factors, including your background, the circumstances of the crime, and the attitude of the victim. The types of sentences include jail or prison terms, probation, conditional discharge, unconditional discharge, restitution and fines. Upon conviction of murder in the first degree and a determination by a jury that death is the appropriate sentence, a sentence of death may be imposed. If convicted of certain sex offenses, you may have to register with a local law enforcement agency.

If you are sentenced to probation, you will be released from jail and supervised by the Department of Probation for a period of years. You will have to obey specific conditions. If you are sentenced to a conditional discharge, you will be released from jail and you will not be supervised by the Probation Department. You will, however, have to obey specific conditions for a particular period of time. Under certain circumstances, you may be given a split sentence, which is a combination of a jail term followed by a period of probation. Periods of probation or conditional discharge are conditional sentences. If you violate one or more of the conditions imposed, you may be re-sentenced to a jail or prison term.

If you are sentenced to an unconditional discharge, you will be released without any conditions. Fines and orders to pay restitution can be imposed either alone or with another sentence. In addition, you will be required to pay a surcharge and a crime victim's assistance fee.

If you have been convicted previously, you may receive a longer sentence. You have the right to challenge the prosecutor's attempt to increase your sentence due to your prior conviction if you can show that the prior conviction did not exist or was not legal.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, if you are convicted of more than one offense, or if you are already serving another sentence, you may receive concurrent sentences, which means that the sentences will run at the same time, or consecutive sentences, which means they will run one after the other. If you have been convicted of several charges, you can be sentenced to a combination of concurrent and consecutive sentences.

If you were thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen years old when you committed the felony offense, you will be sentenced as a juvenile offender (J.O.). If you were thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen years old at the time of the felony offense, you may also be entitled to be treated as a youthful offender (Y.O.). Thus, when you reach your sixteenth birthday, you are a youth, not a juvenile. When you reach your nineteenth birthday, you are an adult and are not a youth. If you are treated as a youthful offender, your offense will not appear on your record and you may receive a lower sentence.

The foregoing information has been taken from the New York Unified Court System- Criminal justice system hand book on the nature of the proceedings.

To learn more about how I can help protect your rights, call my office at 718-720-1000 for a free initial consultation

 

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Kurt T. Richards, P.C.
1200 South Avenue, Suite 201
Staten Island, NY 10314
Phone: 718-720-1000
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