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Criminal Sentencing

After a defendant is convicted or pleads guilty, a judge will decide on the appropriate punishment (or sentence) during the sentencing phase of a criminal case. Sentencing for criminal offenses can range from probation and community service to prison and even the death penalty. The following resources cover the various factors that influence sentencing, "three strikes" sentencing laws, mandatory minimum sentences, state-specific guidelines and more.

Sentencing Basics:

Sentencing In-Depth:

  • "Three Strikes" Sentencing Laws - Explanation of federal and state laws that provide for mandatory life imprisonment for a third felony conviction.
  • Mandatory Sentences, Uniformity and Consistency - Overview of mandatory minimum sentencing and the different opinions of what a sentence should accomplish.
  • Alternative Sentences - The reasons for, and examples of, alternative sentences such as house arrest or drug treatment programs.
  • Probation FAQ - Answers to frequently asked questions about probation, including penalties for violating probation and what happens if probation is revoked.
Selected State Sentencing Laws - State-specific primers on sentencing laws, such as the use of parole and the passage of mandatory minimum sentencing laws for felonies.
Next Steps
Contact a qualified criminal lawyer to make sure
your rights are protected.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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