SENTENCING. If you have been convicted of a crime, the judge will then hold a sentencing hearing. If you pled guilty under the terms of a plea agreement, The Judge will likely sentence you at the plea hearing and the sentence will be the same as what was in your agreement with the prosecutor.
Some types of crimes require that the jury in your case makes decisions about certain sentencing factors. If this is the case, then this part of your “sentencing” process will happen immediately after your jury trial, almost like a second or third trial. The jury will not decide your actual sentence, but will just decide if certain sentencing enhancements can be used in deciding your sentence.
In some cases, even after a trial has occurred, the Judge might proceed with an immediate sentencing hearing, and allow you and the State to present evidence about what a fair sentence would be for the crimes you are convicted of committing.
In other cases, this sentencing hearing will be delayed to a future date, usually no more than 30 days after you are convicted. The Court might require that you meet with an investigator from the probation department before the sentencing hearing so that they can prepare a “presentence investigation report”. This is a comprehensive report on you, your family background, personal background, finances, religious affiliations, work history, history of substance abuse, prior criminal history, and other factors that are important for the Judge to know and consider in deciding your sentence. You and your lawyer will be given a copy of this report before the sentencing hearing, and so will the Judge and the prosecutor. You can also present other evidence or evidence that challenges this report when you have your sentencing hearing.
In Indiana, every crime or type of crime has a possible range of sentences that the Judge can impose. There are also rules about whether the Judge can make sentences for multiple crimes run concurrently or consecutively, whether sentences can be “suspended” (meaning you are on probation instead of being in jail), whether you are can serve your sentence on work release or home detention, and whether you will be eligible to earn good time credit for the time you serve in jail.
Your lawyer can advise you about all of these options that are available in your specific case. Be sure to ask him or her about them before your sentencing hearing, so that you know what the risks and possible outcomes are at the hearing.
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Helfrich Law Offices is a full service law firm with two locations to serve our clients in Hancock County, Hendricks County and throughout Central Indiana. We have over 20 years experience practicing before Indiana trial and appellate courts, handling cases involving all areas of law, including family law, adoptions and guardianships, small business law, criminal matters, estate planning, probate, contracts, real estate, small claims, collection, banking, and civil litigation. We also offer mediation services. Call us to discuss how we can serve you, your family and your business.