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What Is The Process Of A Sentencing Hearing In Texas

Posted on February 6, 2024 in

Plea deals, the requests of the judge, and the testimony of witnesses and victims impact sentencing hearings. A judge will process this information to render a sentence proportioned to the charges. Understanding the process of a sentencing hearing equips a defendant for what steps may occur during this phase of legal action.

Also, becoming aware of steps to take to improve the outcome of a criminal sentencing hearing in Texas can provide a better result and chances at rehabilitation. A Houston criminal defense attorney will work for the best outcome in a sentencing hearing and prepare a client for what to expect.

The Length of Time of a Sentencing Hearing

Rarely will a sentencing hearing run past a day. The process generally takes half an hour to several hours, depending on the following:

  • The judge’s consideration of the evidence based on factors involved in the case
  • statewide precedents or trends
  • Whether the defendant may benefit from probation or rehabilitation
  • Whether the defendant accepts responsibility for their actions
  • If any rehabilitative programs have been completed
  • Whether restitution has been paid
  • If incarceration seems more suitable for the actions

A judge will consider the punishments prescribed under the law and look at incarceration and financial penalties that may apply. There are multiple factors to consider, and providing a solid defense, even during the sentencing phase of a trial, may lead to better outcomes for rehabilitation or reduced sentencing.

Victims and Witnesses are Allowed to Speak

Both sides in a trial can provide witnesses and the opportunity to present information to the judge. A victim may share the impact of the defendant’s actions through a victim statement or in person about how the incident impacted their life. An expert witness in a criminal case may also provide testimony that favorably impacts a sentencing hearing.

Defendant Input at a Sentencing Hearing

Many defendants feel they have no say in the outcome of a verdict. However, a Houston criminal defense attorney provides facts in a case that strives to produce more favorable outcomes. A criminal defense attorney can also locate witnesses who may shed a contrasting light on a defendant’s character or offer rehabilitation avenues to improve their client’s outlook.

Facilitating a More Favorable Outcome

Each client has options to pursue more favorable outcomes in a sentencing hearing. A judge will consider a client’s determination to take reforming action. Depending on the offense, there are actions that a defendant can take that a judge may review favorably and consider during a sentencing hearing, including:

  • Drug or alcohol counseling
  • Community service
  • Restitution or reparation
  • General counseling services, such as anger management
  • Securing or maintaining employment

Being convicted of a crime and facing a sentencing hearing doesn’t only happen to villains. Many good people find themselves in legal situations they never imagined. Past actions may also be considered during sentencing hearings.

There are people who likely know a different side of you and will speak on your behalf or write a letter of support for a judge to consider. Positive ties to your family, being a productive member of society, and never having had altercations with law enforcement can all impact a sentencing hearing when presented for consideration. Contact the Law Office of David A. Breston for a consultation with a Houston expungement attorney to keep a clean record.