The last phase of a criminal trial in Nevada is sentencing. In Nevada, the law designates a range of possible sentences for a given crime, which can vary from order to SOOT (“stay out of trouble”) or probation, to incarceration in jail or state prison.
You may be convicted three ways: a plea agreement, a jury trial, or a bench trial. Cases do not carry definite penalties, and a judge is given a range of punishments for a particular type of offense, along with the ability to impose a less severe or more severe status. In the sentencing phase of the trial, the judge will decide on the criminal sentence.
Depending on the situation and the judge, this portion of the trial could be a few minutes or several hours. Keep in mind that this may not be what you actually serve. After sentencing occurs, jail time may be reduced for good behavior and overcrowding.
Understanding Mitigating Circumstances
Keeping a defendant out of jail is always the goal for an attorney, but there are cases where the prosecution has a very strong case, and a focus is made from the beginning to diminish a probable sentence. When a defendant is found guilty of a crime, a criminal defense lawyer’s job shifts from fighting a guilt vs. innocence argument to fighting for the most favorable, lightest punishment.
In a sentencing hearing, a lawyer may present mitigating factors that make you less blameworthy. This could be anything that’s relevant. Examples of mitigating factors in your favor could be:
- You were under extreme mental distress at the time of the crime.
- You acted out of a desire to provide necessities (you stole a basket of groceries to feed your hungry children).
- You caused no harm (for example, you drove a getaway car from a robbery, but stopped to allow school children to safely cross the street).
- You were a standup, well-liked member of society (common in white-collar crime cases where the defendant has no prior criminal record).
- You had a difficult upbringing and suffered abuse as a child.
- You have accepted responsibility and are extremely remorseful.
Your attorney can also propose alternative sentencing such as rehab instead of prison, house arrest with electronic monitoring, work release and weekend jail, or community service.
Damage Control Following an Arrest
To give you the best shot for the most positive outcome of your case, you should talk to a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. If you have been arrested, or suspect that you will soon be charged with a crime, you should speak to a lawyer, before you speak to someone else.
If you were charged with a DUI as a result of a Las Vegas car accident, you should speak to a lawyer before even contacting your insurance company. Your attorney can protect you, and make sure that nothing is said or done that could jeopardize your case.
Get in Touch Today
The uncertainty of the future while facing criminal charges and especially, jail time, is extremely stressful. People subject to prosecution in Las Vegas have reported high levels of anxiety, uneasiness, stress, and related alcohol and drug use. Many people report feeling much better, like a heavyweight is lifted off their backs, after just talking to a lawyer and feeling like they have options and some degree of control over how they will handle their future.
If you are facing criminal charges, contact Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Nick Woolridge today for a free consultation. He is experienced, aggressive, and will work hard for you.
His goal in every case, whether it is a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony, is to reach the best possible outcome given the circumstances.