At the conclusion of a trial either by jury or in front of a judge, where a guilty verdict has been issued, the next step in the legal proceeding is criminal sentencing. The sentencing process can be just as detailed and time consuming as the trial process. The judge must carefully weigh the sentencing the Crown wants along with what your Brampton criminal defence lawyer believes is fair for the crime.
In addition, the judge is bound to review the sentencing guidelines in the Criminal Code of Canada for your criminal offence. Some crimes have minimum and maximum fines, fees and imprisonment periods. The judge is required to adhere to these when they will be a part of the sentencing for the criminal offence.
However, a judge does have the right to “suspend” sentencing in lieu of some other form of punishment. For instance, the judge might place you on house arrest in lieu of sending you to jail so you can still leave the home to go to work and earn a living.
Furthermore, if the judge believes you are remorseful for your actions and has demonstrated to the court you have made repairs to any injured parties, they could decide on an absolute discharge or conditional discharge during sentencing.
At the conclusion of your trial, the judge will set a sentencing court date. This date is typically several months or more away. If you were released on bail during your trial, your bond often remains in effect until sentencing.
While awaiting sentencing, you may be required by the court to submit to various reviews so a pre-sentence report or forensic report can be presented to the judge. It is imperative you fulfill any count requirements as these will have bearing on your sentencing.
In addition, you will want to gather together relevant information that could potentially help arrive at a lesser sentence. Your criminal defence lawyer can advise you on what information you may want to prepare including:
- Your record of employment.
- Reference letters from your employer, friends, family, and others.
- Your record of community involvement/volunteering.
- A copy of an apology letter you wrote the victim, if applicable.
- A record of any counselling or therapy you are attending, if applicable.
- A record of any damages you paid the victim, if applicable.
- Any relevant mental health and medical records.
- If you are in school or university, a record showing your grades and attendance.
- A copy of your driving abstract, if applicable.
You may also want to write down any relevant information you want the Judge to know ahead of time. It can be useful to read the information aloud in court to the Judge to ensure they hear everything you want to say prior to your sentencing.
For legal advice and help preparing for sentencing, please feel free to contact Manbir Sodhi Law for a FREE consultation to speak with one of our criminal defence and sentencing lawyers in Brampton.