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Know how sentence type and wording impacts your sentence

Knowing the guidelines for sentencing that apply to your case can have an impact on how you handle your defense. There are several things to know about the sentencing phase of the criminal justice process.

There are a few different things to pay attention to when you are going through the sentencing phase. The type of sentence, duration and serving method are all important points.

Type of sentence

The type of sentence you have to serve is important because it lets you know where you will be able to spend your time. If you are sentenced to incarceration, you are heading to prison. If you are sentenced to an alternative program, such as probation, you are going to spend time at home. Community service, fines and other sentences might also occur.

Duration of sentence

The duration of the sentence lets you know how long you are going to have to deal with being under the court's watchful eye. You have to pay attention to how the wording is stated for the duration. You might have a sentence range that you have to consider. In this case, your behavior would determine the length of the sentence. Some convictions, including convictions for violent acts, come with mandatory minimum sentences, which means the court can't impose a lesser sentence.

How it will be served

Some sentences are ordered to be served consecutively. This means one after the other. If you have two 10-year sentences that are served consecutively, you will serve a total of 20 years. The other possibility is serving sentences concurrently. This means at the same time. Two 10-year sentences served concurrently would mean you serve a total of 10 years.

A criminal defense attorney can help you understand more about sentencing guidelines that apply to a crime with which you've been charged.

Source: FindLaw, "Types of Sentences," accessed May 26, 2017

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