If you are charged with a criminal offence and decide to plead guilty to that offence you will be required to attend a sentencing hearing.
- The purpose of a sentencing hearing is:
- To have the prosecution put their view forward on what they believe appropriate penalty is for the offence;
- To allow you to put forward your view as to what the appropriate penalty for the offence is;
- For the court to decide what the appropriate penalty is to impose upon you.
You may wish to seek advice from a lawyer regarding the likely sentence that will be imposed upon you. You can also elect to have a lawyer represent you at the sentencing hearing and to conduct what is called a ‘plea in mitigation’ on your behalf. A plea in mitigation is an opportunity for you, as the accused, to provide information that will help the court to decide on an appropriate sentence. Sentencing is a complex procedure and differs in almost every case.
There are a variety of sentencing options available to the court, and it is important that submissions are made on your behalf in relation to those various options. To minimise a penalty that will be imposed it is critical to prepare a strong plea in mitigation.
In order to prepare a strong plea in mitigation, the following should be put before the court:
- Your age;
- Details of any previous criminal record/offending;
- Employment details;
- Whether you co-operated with the police in their investigations;
- Support from family and friends;
- Your work history;
- Any evidence of you engaging in rehabilitation courses;
- If you apologised to the victim of your offence;
- If you are responsible for supporting your family or other people.
Based on these, and any other factors the court considers relevant, the court will then decide the appropriate sentence to be imposed.
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.