You, in consultation with your lawyer, may decide it is in your best interests to plead guilty, with or without a plea agreement. A guilty plea finally decides the issue of your guilt. It means you will not have a jury or judge decide whether you are guilty or not guilty. There are generally two types of plea agreements. One is called a “B plea”. This type of plea directs a judge to enter a sentence within a range you have agreed to with the government. The other type of plea is a “C plea” which directs the Court to impose a specific sentence that you have agreed upon with the government. Most pleas in our district are B pleas and they are generally preferred by all parties and the Court.
You will be sentenced if you are convicted or plead guilty. Usually, but not always, sentencing in our district is done on the same day and immediately after the guilty plea hearing. If you are convicted following a trial, sentencing will be set at some time after the jury or judge, if jury is waived, returns its verdict.
You and your lawyer must prepare carefully for sentencing. Your lawyer will explain the sentencing range and options the judge has to choose from when he or she imposes your sentence. Sentencing is discussed in greater detail in other parts of our website. It cannot be overemphasized that this is a very important part of your case. You are an important part of your sentencing team. You need to be honest with your lawyer and ask questions when you do not understand things. Your family members and loved ones may be asked to assist with our mitigation specialists. It is always helpful to have loved ones at the sentencing hearing. It shows the judge that people care about you and will support you if you are not sent to prison or upon your release from prison.