Criminal Sentencing in Missouri
Sentencing is a dynamic and subjective process. Sentencing is handled differently in different courts and circuits. An experienced and persuasive criminal defense attorney can have a dramatic impact on a case just in sentencing alone. I have frequently been hired just to handle the sentencing portion of a case.
- Being a prior and persistent offender
- Violating probation
Sentencing occurs either after a plea, a finding of guilt or in some cases, after a probation violation. This is the stage of a case where a judge or jury determines what should happen to the defendant. I have a long track record of bringing cases to a soft landing; often severe cases. It is essential to understand the tendencies and traditions of the circuit, the judge, and the prosecutor. Without this knowledge, your attorney is just walking blind.
Prior and Persistent Offender
Being designated a prior and persistent offender can dramatically impact your case. In some cases, the level of sentencing available to the judge can be elevated two levels. In other words, a C felony which normally has a range up to seven years with the Missouri Department of Corrections may be elevated to a B or even an A felony, allowing the judge to give a life sentence.
Despite the enhanced range, it is possible under certain circumstances that the judge would not impose the top range. There is frequently a wide range of discretion available to the court. An experience criminal defense lawyer takes leverages this discretion to maximize the result.
Missouri Probation Violations
A probation violation may occur when a person is on probation and violates one of the conditions of probation. This may be due to a new criminal case or simply not complying with a directive from the court or probation officer. The standard for a probation violation is much lower than a finding of guilt. The court must only believe that it is more likely than not that the defendant violated probation. However, even if the defendant has been found to have violated probation, there is a wide range of options available to the judge. Jail or a criminal conviction is not necessarily a certainty. This range of discretion is important. An experienced criminal defense attorney will leverage this discretion in crafting a favorable outcome.
Call me to discuss. I have helped many in your position.