Sentence Probation: Understanding the Process





Sentence Probation: Understanding the Process

Probation is a court order to do, or not do certain things, which is also referred to as a probation order. Typically, an offender who gets a conditional discharge or suspended sentence will have probations order they will have to follow. Every probation order has the following conditions: keep the peace and be of good behaviour; appear in court when ordered by the court; tell the court or probation officer about any change of name, address or job.

Factors That Affect Sentencing

Whether the accused entered a plea agreement with the prosecutor in exchange for a reduced penalty, or whether the accused provided information or assistance to the authorities during the investigation or prosecution.
Refers to circumstances that may reduce the responsibility or moral culpability of the accused, such as acting under duress or coercion, or because it was necessary to prevent greater harm.
Evidence or arguments presented by both the prosecutor and the defence that could affect the penalty, such as evidence of the accused’s previous bad acts or extenuating circumstances such as mental illness or addiction.
Refers to the accused’s military, public or other service that may be relevant to sentencing.
Refers to specific laws, policies and precedents in the jurisdiction where the offence was committed that may affect the sentence, such as mandatory minimums, sentencing guidelines or prevailing community views on punishment.
The extent to which the defendant has cooperated with the police and other authorities in investigating and prosecuting his own case may be a factor in sentencing. Cooperation can demonstrate acceptance of responsibility and may be considered by the court as a mitigating factor.
The defendant’s age and any physical or mental health problems may be relevant to the court’s determination of an appropriate sentence. For example, an elderly defendant or one with a serious health problem may be sentenced more leniently.
The defendant’s role in the commission of the offence may affect his or her sentence. A principal or co-conspirator may be sentenced more harshly than an accomplice or someone who played a minor role.
The court may consider the ability of the accused to make restitution to the victims and / or to the State.
Sentencing may be influenced by the aim of deterring the defendant and others from committing similar offences in the future. A harsh sentence may act as a deterrent, whereas a more lenient sentence may not have the same effect.
The safety and protection of the public is an important consideration in sentencing. If an offender poses a significant threat to public safety, a harsher sentence may be imposed to prevent him or her from committing further offences.
The potential of the defendant to be rehabilitated, or the ability to be successfully treated or trained so as not to reoffend, may be taken into account in determining an appropriate sentence. A defendant who appears to have a high probability of being successfully rehabilitated may be sentenced more leniently.
A court is required to follow sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums established by state or federal law.
Aggravators are elements of the crime or the defendant’s conduct that increase the penalty, while mitigators are elements that decrease the penalty. These factors are often specified by state or federal law.
Public opinion and judges’ or sentencers’ views may influence perceptions of how severe a particular penalty is.
The extent to which the defendant assisted police or other authorities in investigating or prosecuting the offence may be considered as a sentencing factor.
Age, mental and physical health of an accused person may be relevant to sentencing because these factors may affect his or her ability to understand consequences of his or her actions and his or her capacity for rehabilitation.
The defendant’s role in the commission of the offence may also be taken into account. Those who have played a leading or more active role often receive a more severe sentence.
This factor refers to the specific details and events surrounding the offence that was committed, including the method used and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
This factor considers the defendant’s previous criminal history, including any previous convictions, and the defendant’s previous sentences.
This factor considers the overall background of the accused, including education, employment, family background and any history of drug or alcohol abuse.
This factor considers whether the accused has shown remorse for the offence, including apologising or expressing remorse.
This assesses the physical, emotional and economic damage caused by the offence and its impact on the life of the victims.

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