What to Expect During Sentencing in Pittsburgh
Anyone who’s paid attention to a high-profile criminal case is familiar with the sentencing part of the process. But the process involved a lot more that a judge handing down a punishment following a conviction? Sentences can involve fines, jail time, community service, or even the death penalty in the most extreme cases. Of course, a lot goes into someone’s penalty, and Pennsylvania has their own guidelines for administering criminal sentences. It may help to take a closer look at how these guidelines work.
If you’ve been charged with a crime in Pennsylvania, you may feel overwhelmed trying to make sense what may happen if you’re convicted. However, this is where our experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys can help. Not only will we respond to all your questions and pursue a result that spares you from any negative consequences, but we’ll also guide you through limiting the impact of a possible conviction.
To schedule a free consultation about your situation, call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC at (412) 281-2146.
Sentencing Guidelines in Pennsylvania
It’s not surprising that most people fear the worst while awaiting their sentencing date. Many let their minds wander to the worst possible outcome, like hefty fines or years behind bars. But since no two cases are identical, criminal sentences also vary considerably.
Interestingly, the Pennsylvania got rid of most of their mandatory minimum sentences for many criminal charges, but a few remain. For the most part, mandatory minimums still apply to some DUI/DWI cases, as well as repeat offenders charged with crimes like homicide, burglary, aggravated assault, or sex crimes.
Many federal charges also carry mandatory minimums, and having your defense attorney determine whether your charges carry a mandatory minimum is the first thing you can do when considering the potential penalties.
Pennsylvania law also requires maximum sentences to be at least twice that of minimum sentences, while also offering a suggested range of minimum sentences. The judge can pick the maximum sentence they feel is appropriate (up to the statutory maximum for the charge) once they choose a minimum sentence.
This suggested range of minimum sentences is determined by the Offense Gravity Score of the charge(s) and the defendant’s Prior Record Score. This sentence calculator may differ slightly if the defendant was either in possession of a deadly weapon or using a deadly weapon at the commission of the crime, though.
What Happens at My Sentencing?
Your sentencing hearing will be scheduled once you plead guilty to the charges against you. Like a trial, this hearing will happen in an open court, meaning the public can attend the hearing. The defendant, their attorney, and the district attorney will all be present.
If you didn’t take a plea, then the prosecution may take extra time to reiterate the facts of the case and point out important details of the case, which sometimes includes a Victim Personal Statement. The defense can counter these arguments with explanations for the defendant’s actions in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence.
The hearings themselves are generally pretty speedy, especially if a plea deal was reached before the hearing. However, the seriousness of the crime may compel the prosecution to make these extra arguments for or against the probation officer’s recommendations, especially if the judge can legally administer a more serious punishment in spite of the plea deal.
How Worgul, Sarna & Ness Can Help You
Being charged with a crime isn’t the end of the road. By working with a knowledgeable and aggressive criminal defense attorney, you can fight for a favorable outcome like a reduction, dismissal, or clearing your name in court. If a conviction is likely, we can also pursue the best possible sentence so you can move on with your life.
Here at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we take pride in helping our clients navigate these tricky criminal proceedings. Give us a call today at (412) 281-2146 for a free and confidential consult to learn more about how we can assist you.