Sentencing Hearings

In cases where the crime does not specify an exact penalty, there must be a sentencing hearing.  All felony criminal convictions in the state of New York require sentencing hearings.  These are separate hearings and often take place weeks after the trial ends or the plea agreement has been reached. Their purpose is to render punishment. The judge, after considering the attorneys’ arguments (from both the defense and the prosecution) determines the sentence and has wide latitude in making these decisions. In misdemeanor cases, the penalties are pre-determined to some extent.  A level misdemeanors and unclassified crimes like DWI carry a maximum sentence of 1 year while B level misdemeanors have a maximum sentence of 90 days.  These criminal cases usually do not require separate hearings for sentencing as they are often levied immediately upon conviction or submission of a plea. For the purposes of this discussion, the term “sentencing” relates to crimes committed by adults. Those who are under 19 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime may be sentenced as Youthful Offenders and those cases are looked at individually in terms of sentencing, and the procedure is different than what is explained here.  Our criminal lawyers incur situations in which to advocate for youthful offender status where the court might not otherwise treat the case as such.