When you’re facing a criminal charge, one thing that you have to think about is what sentence you might have to deal with if you’re convicted. This can be a primary driving force for your defense strategy. There are several things that go into what sentence you’re likely going to get for your charges.

The court is going to look at the sentencing guidelines for the charge you’re facing. In some cases, there are mandatory minimum sentences, which means the court can’t issue anything less than that specific sentence. There are also suggested options for them to consider, so knowing this might give you an idea of what might happen.

Your criminal history is also going to be considered. One especially important point here is whether you have a prior conviction for the same charge you’re facing now. If you have one, the penalties you’re facing might be greater than if this was your first time with the charge.

The impact the crime had on the victim might also come into the picture. This is more common if you’re facing a violent crime. Typically, any cruelty will result in a harsher sentence.

Some people choose to try to work out a plea deal with the prosecutor, so they know ahead of time what sentencing recommendation is going to be made. This isn’t an option if you didn’t commit the crime because you should only plead guilty if you did. Another defense strategy might focus on trying to obtain an alternate sentence, such as drug court or something similar, instead of having you face incarceration.