When a defendant is rendered a guilty verdict and sentenced for a crime that they committed, there is occasionally the possibility that the sentence is out of proportion to the crime itself. Instead of filing an appeal, a person could instead have a seasoned criminal defense attorney file a motion to reconsider. This enables the possibility that the sentence could be reduced or changed.
If you believe your sentence was unjust, seek the help of a Fairfax reconsideration lawyer who could attempt to alter your punishment. There is little downside to petitioning the court for leniency.
A motion for reconsideration asks a court to reconsider the sentence previously imposed on a defendant. Only the sentence that the court imposed after having found the defendant guilty is re-examined. These motions are sometimes entertained for the reconsideration of pretrial bail decisions as well. The court cannot entirely eliminate any jail time imposed if a motion to reconsider is granted; however, it can suspend all or parts of the remaining portion of actual jail time.
Outside of incarceration, the court can modify other aspects of the sentence as much or as little as it feels is appropriate, unless the sentence includes a mandatory component of punishment or supervision under the Virginia Code.
When a case is appealed or reopened, there is a potential that both the sentence and the guilty verdict might be changed if the person wins. A motion to reconsider can only result in a sentence being changed. It cannot change the underlying guilty verdict. A motion to reconsider must also involve new evidence or arguments, which is generally forbidden on an appeal. A local lawyer who works with motions to reconsider could assist in crafting a new argument for the court.
Although a motion to reconsider cannot erase the fact that a person was found guilty of an offense, it can reduce or modify the sentence previously imposed, including jail time. It could even order that two jail sentences be served concurrently.
Aside from jail time, motions to reconsider can also adjust the lengths and conditions of probation. That includes the payment terms of criminal fines, costs, restitution, and eligibility for jail programs like work release or house arrest. The court could even order that a sentence be served in an entirely different jail that is preferable or safer for the defendant.
A motion to reconsider does not allow the court to make the sentence any worse for the defendant, so there is little risk in requesting one. If a motion is pending before a court, there is a good chance the court could also grant a motion ordering that the subject not be moved from their current jail before deciding on the reconsideration motion. In some situations, this can help delay an inmate’s transfer from a local jail to a state prison.
One of the downsides of a motion to reconsider is that courts are hesitant to grant them. A motion to reconsider is a way for someone to request that the court to review their sentence after their trial is over, when the sentencing order may otherwise be final. The motion must be submitted in writing and there is no explicit time frame the court must follow in granting or denying the motion. Consequently, sometimes a court takes so long to answer a motion to reconsider that it has lost its jurisdiction by the time it is ready to issue a decision, or the person has already served most of their sentence. A Fairfax reconsideration attorney could be diligent about filing a motion on time.
A court is also not obligated to grant a hearing for a reconsideration motion and can simply deny the motion via a mailed letter. Additionally, if the judge who sentenced someone in the past is no longer an active judge, some judges may take the position that it is not appropriate to hear a reconsideration motion due to their unfamiliarity with the case.
From reducing or combining jail sentences, to changing the length of probation, a motion to reconsider is a valuable tool that could achieve a more just criminal sentence. If your punishment does not fit the crime, you do not have to accept it without question. Consult with a Fairfax reconsideration attorney and learn your odds of successfully receiving a fairer sentence.
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