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4 factors that impact sentencing

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Anyone facing criminal charges in Maryland will likely have questions about their possible sentences. This is determined primarily by the type of charge they’re facing.

There are a few case-specific points that are considered during the sentencing phase. While there might be other considerations in some cases, these are typically the primary factors that judges use when setting a sentence.

Previous criminal convictions

A person’s criminal history plays a primary role in sentencing. Previous convictions for the same or similar charges may increase penalties the person has to deal with. Someone with no criminal history may get a much lighter sentence.

Remorse (or lack of it)

Defendants who show remorse for their actions may be viewed as more willing to avoid committing the same crime or getting in trouble with the law at all again. Because of this, the judge may give them a bit lighter sentence than they would a person who doesn’t show any remorse or one whose remorse doesn’t seem genuine.

Sentencing guidelines

Every criminal charge has sentencing guidelines set in state law. This helps to keep sentencing reasonably consistent across the state. Judges typically review these to determine if there are mandatory minimums or anything specific they must consider in sentencing.

Harm to victims

Harm to victims, whether physical, financial or emotional, can impact the sentence. In some cases, restitution to the victims may be ordered as part of the sentence.

Because some of these sentencing points are affected by how strong the defense case is, they should all be considered when developing the strategy. Having experienced legal guidance is crucial.