Allocution At Sentencing

Mark RollinsCriminal Law

Sentencing in a Criminal Cases

Sentencing in a Criminal Case in DC or Maryland

So you have spoken to your attorney and he says the government will allocute or recommend a particular sentence.

What does allocution mean?

In criminal cases both parties (the prosecutor & defendant) can recommend what sentence the Judge should impose.    This recommendation to the Judge is called allocution.   In the District of Columbia and in Maryland the Judge is not bound by the terms of the plea agreement unless you enter a special binding plea with the Judge.  A binding plea will bind the Judge to the sentence that the parties have negotiated but the Judge must decide whether he/she will accept the plea before it occurs.

However, most cases in criminal law both sides (prosecutor and defense lawyer) argue to the Judge what sentence the defendant should receive.  If the charge is a felony there will be voluntary sentencing guidelines the Judge will follow in sentencing the defendant.  The parties will argue the range of the guideline to the Judge.   If the charge is a misdemeanor case the Judge can sentence the defendant to any sentence as allowed by law.

Sentencing hearing

A sentencing hearing can be just as important as the trial in a case and should not be taken lightly.   At the sentencing hearing the Judge may hear testimony from victims as well as the defendant.

Sentencing Memorandums

In most cases especially felony cases each side can file with the Judge before sentencing a sentencing memorandum explaining to the Judge why a particular sentence should be imposed.   The defense lawyer will will write a detailed memorandum to the Judge explaining mitigating factors of why the defendant  should receive a lighter sentence.   More questions – Give us a call.

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