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What to Expect During Sentencing

Chahine Legal LLC Aug. 11, 2023

Prisoner's hands handcuffed in a dark roomWhen facing criminal charges, many people do not understand what to expect as their case goes through the legal system. One of the most stressful and confusing stages of this process is sentencing.   

Your actions at each step of the process, including sentencing, can have a tremendous impact on the outcome of your case. That is why you will need to seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney to protect your rights throughout the process. At Chahine Legal LLC, I strive to provide my clients with the best possible defense by meticulously planning out their next steps moving forward.   

I help my clients avoid the worst punishments and pursue the most favorable outcome. My law firm is based in Lawrence, Kansas, but I serve clients in areas throughout Kansas and Missouri, including Overland Park, Olathe, and Lenexa. 

When Does Sentencing Occur?

When you are convicted on criminal charges, your case proceeds to sentencing. Essentially, sentencing is one of the final stages of the criminal justice process, during which a judge decides which punishment should be given to an individual convicted of a crime.   

A date for the sentencing hearing is typically set by the court about two months (60 days) after a finding of guilt by trial or plea. Under certain circumstances, defendants facing misdemeanor charges may be sentenced on the day of the trial or plea.   

When facing criminal charges, it is imperative that you work with an experienced attorney. A skilled criminal defense attorney can direct you through sentencing and explain what you should expect at every step of the process. Without an attorney, you may not be truly prepared for what’s to come in your case.   

What Happens During Sentencing?

If you are accused of committing a crime and then subsequently plead guilty or are found guilty by trial, you will face criminal sentencing. As the name implies, sentencing involves determining an appropriate sentence for individuals convicted of a crime.   

During the sentencing hearing, the judge will hear arguments from both sides. Then, the judge considers the Kansas Sentencing Grid to impose the appropriate sentence for drug or non-drug offenses. The only exception is if an individual is convicted of an off-grid crime. The punishment for off-grid crimes is determined by other laws.  

Before imposing a sentence, the judge will consider oral statements made by the defendant and their defense counsel in court as well as listen to the prosecutor’s comments. Other parties who may be present at the sentencing hearing include victims and expert witnesses.   

Typically, the prosecutor’s comments will focus on highlighting aggravating factors in the defendant’s conduct and the defendant’s criminal past to impose a harsher sentence. The defendant’s attorney, on the other hand, will highlight mitigating factors to justify a lighter sentence. The sooner you get help from a criminal defense attorney to identify and argue those mitigating factors, the better the outcome will be.   

What Kind of Sentence Can You Face?

The kind of punishment you face depends on many factors, including the type of crime you are convicted of, your criminal history, and the presence of aggravating/mitigating factors. In general, felonies tend to have harsher punishment than misdemeanors, which can result in a lengthier jail/prison sentence and larger fines, among other penalties.  

Most offenses come with a sentencing range or a minimum suggested sentence attached to them in the statutes. In Kansas, judges use sentencing guideline grids when determining the appropriate sentence after a conviction. These guidelines are used in connection with considering the aggravating and mitigating circumstances highlighted by the prosecution and the defendant’s counsel, respectively, during the sentencing hearing.  

Representing Clients With Care

It is critical that you have a complete understanding of the criminal justice process to know what to expect from the day of your arrest all the way to the sentencing hearing. As a criminal defense attorney at Chahine Legal LLC, I have the expertise and resources to represent you at every stage of your case with care, diligence, and respect. Reach out to my office in Lawrence, Kansas, to request a free consultation.