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Sentencing is a complex process

White collar crimes of all sorts can come with jail time for a person who is convicted. The sentencing phase of the case is often very challenging for the defendants because of the unknown. You don't know for sure if the court is going to use you as an example and hand down a hard sentence or if you will be able to have a lighter sentence.

There are several factors that are considered when the court is handing down a sentence. Understanding these might provide you with some insight into what is going to happen when you are sentenced on a criminal charge. Even if you understand these and know what the possible range is, you can't fully know what the court will do until the actual sentence is issued.

One of the main factors that the court is going to look at is the sentencing guidelines for the charges on which you were convicted. These guidelines usually contain a sentence range for the judge to consider. If there is a mandatory minimum sentence, the court will consider that when determining the sentence.

Another factor that is important is the presentencing report that is provided to the court. This will provide pertinent information that the judge can use when handing down a sentence. On top of this report, the court will also consider your criminal history. If you have similar convictions in the past, you might have a harsher sentence.

There are other factors that the court might also consider, such as whether you showed remorse or not and what impacts the victim of the crime had to deal with. Looking at the specifics of the case as they were introduced during the trial can help you determine what other factors might come into the picture.

Source: FindLaw, "Factors Considered in Determining Sentences," accessed April 13, 2018

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