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Sentencing Factors in Fairfax Criminal Cases

When going into a criminal trial in Fairfax, Virginia it’s always helpful to know what aspects might help or hurt your case. Knowing what not to do is critical in creating a strong defense for yourself and can definitely influence how the court sentences you.

A Fairfax criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you through the process of a criminal trial and provide useful information about how certain things might benefit or harm your case.

Mitigating & Aggravating Factors

The person’s criminal history is number one. That’s the most important thing. Number two is what the person has done since the arrest to take steps to rehabilitate himself, whether it’s drug treatment or finding a job or cognitive therapy to address some psychological issues, whether it is proper medication. Those are very important mitigating factors. Also there is the consideration of remorse. It is possible that if the person has pled guilty and there’s genuine remorse expressed, that is certainly really important to a sentencing judge.

Aggravating factors would include, again, what their criminal history is, the nature of the crime they’re involved in, whether it’s a violent crime or a non-violent crime and the other facts leading to whether or not this person is a danger to the public. Whether they have a drug addiction that they’re not taking steps to deal with, or if they remain a danger.

Plus, considerations regarding someone’s employment status and their education level. If a person is unable to support themselves, the judge might look at that as an aggravating factor because they might be prone to more criminal behavior in the future.

Felony v. Misdemeanor Charges

If it is a traffic case that’s not DUI, they should expect that their trial date and that is when their case is going to be handled. If it is a DUI, generally speaking, the first court date is for either a plea or negotiated plea agreement or for the attorney to get the discovery information from the prosecutor and the police officer, to get the cruiser video if there is one. A lot of times, the case is then continued so that the attorney can prepare for a trial the next court date.

If it is a misdemeanor in the Fairfax, the first court date will be the trial date. This means the witnesses will be subpoenaed. The defense attorney needs to be prepared for that trial date. That doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily going to be resolved in the first court date but the party should be prepared for it to be resolved. It could be continued, however.

There’s jail time associated with each level of misdemeanor, each level of felony. There is jail time, there are fines, probation, license suspension, and suspended jail time. It depends on what the person is charged with.

How a Fairfax Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

An attorney can always help. Sentencing is not really out of your hands because if you follow the recommendations of your lawyer, which are going to include maintaining your employment, maybe doing some community service, finishing school, remaining on good behavior, etc., you will find that you do have control of what could happen.

Provided a client follows the recommendations of their attorney, that really, really helps in the sentencing arguments because it provides the attorney with some evidence to support their request for leniency, instead of just asking for it to build the client’s mitigating factors up for that. The judge realizes that this person is different maybe than other people that he has seen.

Individuals charged with a crime need to get a good attorney they can rely upon and trust. It is very important that they be able to ask the right questions, make sure that they follow the instructions of the attorney, and only speak to the attorney about their case — no one else.