After a person is convicted of a crime, a judge will order a sentence. The type of penalty issued depends on the punishments specified by the laws concerning the offense. Typically, statutes have a range of penalties, and the judge can decide on sentencing based on that range. For example, for a first time DUI conviction, a person can face 48 hours to 11 months in prison and $350 to $1,500 in fines. It is at the judge’s discretion to impose a specific jail term and fine amount.
Aggravating Factors and Enhanced Sentencing
Based on a number of factors, the judge may decide, or may be required to, impose enhanced sentencing on the convicted individual. That means jail time and/or fines can increase based on the specific circumstances of the offense.
Aggravating factors can include:
- Wielding or using a deadly weapon during the commission of a crime
- Causing serious bodily injury or death to a victim
- Prior convictions for the same offense
Returning to the DUI example, if a person is convicted of their second DUI offense, the penalties increase. Whereas the first resulted in a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours and a minimum fine of $360, the second conviction will result in a minimum jail term of 45 days and a minimum fine of $600.
If a person committed their first DUI offense but injured another individual, both the level of offense and sentence are enhanced. A conviction for vehicular assault is a felony punishable by 2 to 12 years in jail.
Mitigating Factors and Reduced Sentencing
In some circumstances, a judge can consider mitigating factors – those that work in the defendant’s favor – to decide to reduce sentencing. Within 12 days of the judge’s initial sentencing order, the defendant must file a motion to reduce the penalties. If the court decides to issue a reduction, it cannot go below the minimum requirements for the offense.
Contact Eldridge & Blakney for a Free Consultation
If you were charged with an offense, let our legal team go to work for you. We have extensive experience, and we know what it takes to obtain favorable results. Our lawyers will thoroughly investigate your case to work toward getting your charges reduced or dropped, minimizing the consequences of a conviction.
Discuss your case with one of our attorneys by calling us at (865) 544-2010 or contacting us online.