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Is The Sentencing Hearing Different For Misdemeanors And Felonies in Los Angeles?

Sentencing is a bit more formal when you are convicted of a felony charge, as opposed to a misdemeanor charge. In both situations, however, a lot of courts in LA County want to give out a waiver form, where you waive all your constitutional rights.

The judge will go over your waiver form with you to make sure you understood all your rights, that you sign the document, and to ask you how you plead. Whether you plead guilty or no contest, they will tell you that a no contest is the same as a guilty plea, or at least will have the same effect. The only difference is that a no contest plea can't be used against you civilly.

The difference between a misdemeanor sentencing and a felony sentencing is the punishment that's doled out. In a felony case, you are going to be put on criminal probation, have a probation officer to report to, lose the right to bear arms, lose your right to vote, plus whatever other conditions will be put upon you by the judge.

Sentencing Hearing

Those will be worked out with your attorney and the prosecutor. In misdemeanor probation, the judge is just going to put you in summary probation, which means you can't get into trouble or you will violate your probation.

You don't have to report to the probation officer or anything like that. Usually, the punishment is not so severe for a misdemeanor, versus a felony.

What Is A Pre-Sentence Report In Los Angeles County?

Before you are sentenced, the probation department is required to give a neutral pre-sentence report about you and who you are. This report gives your criminal record, the facts and circumstances surrounding the crime, and input from the victim.

Lastly, the pre-sentence report will give a recommendation as to what the probation officer thinks should be your sentence in a criminal case and why.

Ultimately, the judge will use that report as one of the considerations, in addition to what the prosecutor has to say and what the defense attorney has to say. Then, the judge will make up their own mind. The pre-sentence report can be valuable because it gives the judge some background on you, rather than just listening to what the prosecutor or the defense attorney has to say.

They can do an actual background check on you for the judge. This can be helpful to you, assuming that you get a probation officer who actually puts the time and effort into doing the report correctly.

Does The Sentencing Take Place Immediately When Someone Takes A Plea Offer?

Most of the time, it makes sense to sentence you at the time of your plea. That way, you can be put on probation or begin serving your time, and then the case is off the court's calendar. However, sometimes, for example, an individual is going to be sentenced to jail time and that person doesn't want to start the jail time right now.

They need some time to get their affairs in order. If that's the case, you can file what is called a Cruz waiver, which asks the court to set your sentencing out 30 days. If you are charged with a new crime while you are waiting to be sentenced or you don't show up at your sentencing hearing, then all bets are off.

If you've got a plea agreement for 180 days in jail and in actuality, the crime you pled to has a three year maximum, the judge can give you up to three years in prison if you violate a condition before you get sentenced.

It is possible to not be sentenced at the time that you enter your plea. There are also deals that are made between prosecutors and defense attorneys, where someone pleads and they intentionally don't sentence them so that they don't get convicted.

They can essentially put that case over for a year and then, when they come back, they've done their community service and haven't gotten into any trouble. Then, instead of them being sentenced for a felony or a misdemeanor, they can let them withdraw their plea and dismiss the case. This is called a called a diversionary deal.

For more information on Sentencing For Misdemeanors & Felonies, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 542-0979 today.