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What happens during the sentencing phase of a federal trial?

If you are going to court for a federal crime in North Carolina, understanding the procedures and process is a little intimidating at times. It helps to get an idea of what will happen throughout the process. One of the most nerve-wracking portions is the sentencing phase. It is the point in your trial where the judge determines what will happen to you.

According to the United States Department of Justice, the judge determines your sentence by consulting legal sources and other pertinent information from your case. This happens after the jury finds you guilty. You should also note that only a jury can impose the death sentence, and in a federal case, the death sentence is only applicable for specific crimes, such as genocide, treason and murder. If you are under the age of 18, the Supreme Court stated you cannot get the death penalty because it is cruel and unusual punishment.

The judge will look at sentencing guidelines from Congress, which sets minimum and maximum sentences. He or she will also consider sentencing guidelines from the United States Sentencing Commissions. In addition, to determine the sentence, the judge will also consider all the factors of the case, such as your previous criminal record and the type of crime, along with reviewing a presentence report and statements from the victim, lawyers and you.

The judge imposes your sentence in court about a few months after your trial ends. This information is for education only. It is not legal advice.