Criminal Sentencing: Exploring Factors Affecting Penalties and Punishments in Los Angeles

Written By Alla Levin
June 19, 2023

With the rising crime rate in Los Angeles, authorities enforce strict laws to curb the menace. Anyone convicted of a crime must undergo a process where their sentence is determined. However, criminal sentencing is a complex process considering various factors affecting penalties and punishments.

It’s something that only the best criminal attorney in Los Angeles can navigate properly. In this article, we will explore various factors to understand better how criminal sentences are handed down in courtrooms and how a person convicted can determine how much time they’ll serve in prison. 

Factors Affecting Penalties and Punishments in Los Angeles: Types of Sentences

Before we delve into the factors that affect criminal sentencing, let’s first look at some common sentences that can be imposed on a convicted individual.

  1. Fines – Monetary penalties imposed on an offender who will pay for their crimes through financial means.
  2. Probation is when an offender agrees to abide by certain conditions set forth by a judge instead of being sent to prison or jail.
  3. Incarceration – Imprisonment in either jail or prison following conviction for crimes committed; may be short-term (jail) or long-term (prison).
  4. Community Service – Alternative forms of punishment where offenders are required to 6. Restitution – An order requiring offenders to pay back damages done or excess fees owed because it was caused due to their actions.

Now that we have an overview of common types of sentences let us examine influencing factors while imposing them upon someone convicted of any crime.

Factors Affecting Criminal SentencingCriminal Sentencing

The Severity and Type Of The Crime

One significant factor that influences criminal sentencing is the type and severity of the offense committed by an offender – both aspects considered when issuing a judgment against them in court.

Judges refer to initial guidelines outlined under federal and state laws regulating similar offenses detailing approved penalty ranges based on seriousness & category details, such as violent crimes like assault or injuring another person physically receiving severe punishments compared with low-level property obligations like graffiti damage.

Prior Offenses of the Accused

Another factor affecting criminal sentencing is whether or not an offender has had previous convictions. When the defendant’s preceding crimes involve engaging with similar criminal allegations, the result is increased judgment severity in new cases. Judges consider this information while making their judgment because it suggests a pattern of having multiple offenses, thereby establishing them as an ongoing threat.

Mitigating and Aggravating Circumstances

Mitigating or aggravating circumstances significantly influence a fair sentence while influencing the severity of penalties imposed due to the accused’s fault/s done before/after committing the crime. These factors contribute towards minimizing (mitigating) or worsening (aggravating) one’s conviction sentence severity categories like murder/manslaughter.

Presence Of Victim/Surviving Families Involved 

The presence of victims affected by any offense often results in harsher sentences against offenders; it leads judges to assess how severely their actions harm others’ lives psychologically, emotionally, financially, etc., affecting both defendants and victims when handing down verdicts according to their statements in courtrooms.

Available Pleas & Bargains On Offer

Sometimes defendants opt to plead guilty to bargains proposed by offered prosecutors responsible for overseeing criminal trials reducing charges may be partially reduced under “the plea agreement.”

Sometimes agreeing on approval from both parties reduces incentives for trial proceedings with quicker family reunions providing faster avenues for correcting errors caused unintentionally—plea bargaining discussions generally start weeks before going on trial dates unless reserved till the last minute to avoid added risks and unnecessary punishments.

Criminal Sentencing: Conclusion

Understanding the factors that influence criminal sentencing is crucial for comprehending the complexities of the justice system and building a strong defense. Numerous elements come into play when determining the appropriate sentence for a crime, and these factors can vary based on jurisdiction and the case’s specific circumstances.

By exploring the factors affecting penalties and punishments, we gain insight into the principles and considerations that guide sentencing decisions. Some of these factors include the severity of the offense, the presence of aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the defendant’s criminal history, the impact on the victim and society, and the need for rehabilitation or deterrence.

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