There are a variety of different punishments based on a variety of crimes, each with their own set of circumstances in Montgomery County. If it is a negotiated sentencing, the defense attorney and the District Attorney agree and give a recommendation to the judge. The judge will usually approve that sentence.
If it is not negotiated, such as a trial where the judge finds someone guilty of one or all of the charges, then they will sentence that person based upon what they feel is right, in addition to the sentencing arguments. The sentencing argument from the defense attorney and from the prosecuting attorney is a whole separate part of the hearing.
In Montgomery County, the sentencing decisions are always up to a judge. If the prosecutor and defense attorney reach an agreement, then that is a contract that a judge can approve or reject. If there is no agreement between the parties, then it will be up to the judge after hearing arguments from both sides to give a sentence.
It is best to reach out to a knowledgeable defense attorney to learn about the nuances of Montgomery County sentencing.
Sentencing for a misdemeanor usually has lower maximum penalties than a felony case. For example, a misdemeanor of the third degree has a maximum of only one year in jail or probation and a maximum fine of $1,000. A misdemeanor of the second degree will have a maximum of two years. A first-degree conviction will have a higher maximum of five years in jail or probation, or some combination thereof. The judge could also assign things such as restitution, stay-away orders, or, if they deem fit, they can impose alternative sentencing such as community service or drug and alcohol treatment. Those are all things the court has at their disposal when fashioning what they think is fair for a proper sentence.
Sentencing for misdemeanor crimes include:
A misdemeanor sentence would usually be lower than a felony sentence, but not always. It depends on the crime and how aggressively the prosecution might push for an increased sentence. It might also depend on other factors, such as the person’s prior record and the specifics of the crime.
A sentence for a felony crime will usually be a higher sentence than a misdemeanor. Montgomery County sentencing for felony crimes are structured as follows:
Those penalties can be increased by repeat offenders and certain aggravating factors such as second and third strikes. Those would be mandatory punishments that a judge would have to give by law, based upon multiple first-degree felonies.
Felony sentencing can be very high. There could be a lot of jail time in a Pennsylvania state prison. A judge can also sentence someone to county prison in the Montgomery County jail and end with probation. It depends on whether the parties are able to reach an agreement or whether the defense attorney can successfully show the judge the mitigating factors in the case.
Some aggravating factors that can be considered in Montgomery County sentencing include:
Mitigating factors that could impact a case include:
At sentencing, a defense attorney could provide lengthy arguments, witnesses, or additional documents. There are numerous ways they can advocate for a lower sentence. Witnesses from the community, their family, or even letters from employers or friends as to their good character would help to seek leniency from the judge or the deciding authority.
Other evidence which could be presented would be social, biographical information about the person, prior evidence of completed drug treatment or anger management classes. Anything that can show a fuller picture of the person in an effort to explain how they may have ended up in this situation and how they encountered the police officers. All of this can be presented to the judge when asking for a lower sentence.
Reach out to a diligent defense attorney to learn about the Montgomery County sentencing process. Schedule a consultation today.