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Sentencing hearings are the hearings at which a person who has been convicted of a crime is given their sentence. Before a person can be convicted of a crime, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused willingly and knowingly perpetrated a crime. Different theft crimes are defined differently, but all have the taking of another individual’s property or money in common. To be convicted of a theft crime, the prosecutor must also prove that the property or money that was stolen amounted to a certain documented dollar amount.
It’s important to understand the elements that must be proven for a conviction. These are vital components when you have your sentencing hearing. The factors relevant to your sentencing should be discussed with your defense attorney. The sooner you get in contact with your defense attorney, the more effective their counsel will be. They can consider the facts of the case, talk with you about your options, negotiate with the prosecutors for a plea deal, create a strategy should you go to trial, and act as your shield against the justice system.
There are dozens of different theft crimes, and different states have slightly different definitions and statutes. As a general rule, crimes can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies. Theft crimes tend to become felonies when the property taken comes to more than $1,000.
A Class E felony is the most mild felony, and it occurs in theft crimes with amounts between $1,000 and $3,000. The potential sentence for the conviction is a range of between one and three years in prison. Class D felonies, which are sums from $3,000 to $50,000, have potential prison sentences of between two and one third and seven years. Class C felonies, which are sums from $50,000 to $1,000,000, are accompanied by anywhere from five to fifteen years incarcerated. A Class B felony, which is a theft in excess of $1,000,000, has up to twenty-five years in prison and also includes a mandatory minimum incarceration period in many states.
Your defense will vary depending on the charges leveled against you, the exact circumstances surrounding the case, the evidence that has been gathered against you, and the prosecution’s willingness to negotiate. Every person’s case is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for a defense against theft charges.
That’s why it’s so important to get in contact with an experienced defense attorney as soon as you’re arrested. The best thing you can do for your defense is to get a lawyer and refuse to talk to law enforcement without your attorney present. Your defense attorney will be able to analyze and assess all of these different factors in your case, and then they’ll explain the situation and your options. By talking with them, you can decide on the best defense strategy going forward.
Another important thing is to be as transparent with your attorney as possible. Your attorney is bound by attorney-client privilege, so even if you’ve committed a crime, they’re still obligated to provide you with the best legal defense they can. By giving your attorney a full accounting of what happened and what you want from the situation, you help them to build a case strategy that works for you.
Some of the things you’ll want to tell your attorney include:
The goal of your defense attorney is to help you get through the case with the most reasonable sentence possible. In some cases, they may be able to poke enough holes in the prosecution’s case to get the charges dropped before anything can go to trial. Your lawyer will also negotiate with the prosecution during the hearing process to find out whether plea deals are an option.