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Factors Affecting the Length of Your Sentence

February 27, 2015

The best way to understand what kind of sentence you may be facing is to consult a criminal defense attorney.

Often, when an individual is brought up on criminal charges the first thing they want to know is “How long will I be in jail if convicted?” Unfortunately this question is very hard to answer accurately without a detailed assessment of the case.

Therefore the best way to understand what kind of penalties and sentencing you may be facing is to hire a criminal defense attorney like Dan E. Chambers to advise you. Chambers Law Firm offers free initial consultations where you can learn about the particulars of your case, including the penalties you may be up against and your chances for evading or reducing them with a strong defense argument.

In the meantime, understand that the length of a sentence for a criminal conviction may depend on the following factors:

Type of Charge: Depending on the specific section of the penal code you are accused of violating and the circumstances of the alleged crime you may be facing misdemeanor or felony charges. Misdemeanor convictions typically bring shorter sentences, often served on probation or in county jail. Felony convictions are more likely to bring longer sentences in state prison. The maximum penalties for different misdemeanor and felony crimes are defined in the penal code, but this does not necessarily mean that you will be sentenced to the maximum or even have to serve your full sentence.

Priors: Any prior convictions you may have can also come into play during sentencing for a new crime. Priors are especially worrisome in cases where Three Strikes Sentencing may apply, as your new conviction may result in life imprisonment under the Three Strikes Law if you have qualifying priors. Certain violent priors could also interfere with your ability to take advantage of California’s new Prop 47 sentencing relief measure that would normally apply to certain low-level drug or theft offenses. It is important to remember that just because a prior conviction is on the books does not automatically mean it must influence your new sentencing. Your attorney will carefully review your priors to see if there is any possible way to get them removed from consideration in your current case, which may help you secure a shorter sentence.

Again, the bottom line is that you must consult an expert criminal defense attorney to gain any reasonable estimate of the length of sentence you may be facing in your unique case.

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