Know your right for a fair sentence in court

Know your right for a fair sentence in court

When you’re going to be sentenced for a crime, you want to know that
you’re going to receive a punishment that is fair based on the crime
committed. If you’ve made a plea or have been convicted of charges,
the sentencing hearing is the moment where your defense will either show
its benefit or failure.

During the sentencing hearing, you can attempt to convince the judge why
you deserve a particular sentence. Maybe you would like to seek probation
instead of jail time, or you would rather have house arrest instead of
a prison sentence. Suggesting these punishments in the right way could
be convincing, but only if you can make the judge understand why you’re
someone who deserves that chance.

Maryland’s sentencing policies are not mandatory. The sentences suggested
are advisory, which means that a judge has the right and potential to
sentence you differently. Your crime may have a minimum sentence guideline
suggesting two years in prison, but a judge who understands your case
and why you participated in a crime could change that sentence to better
suit you and rehabilitation or other self-help treatment outside prison.

The Judicial Committee on Sentencing set an expectation that around two-thirds
of all sentences should fall within recommended sentencing ranges when
it was first established. Now, the goal is for around 65 percent of cases
to fall within those ranges. This gives judges more leeway to help you
get a sentence you deserve instead of one that has been predetermined.
Our website has more information about sentencing policies in Maryland,
so you can get a good idea of how you could be affected.