When a person has been charged with a criminal offense, their criminal background will play a big role in the overall outcome of the case.
If the person does have a criminal record, the Court will look to see if the person was on probation at the time the current crime was committed. If the person was on probation, then there will be an additional charge for a probation violation. The Court takes probation violations very seriously and it could add a significantly harsher penalty to the final sentence if the person is found guilty and is convicted of the most recent crime.
If the person is not on probation, but has a prior criminal history, it could still lead the Court to impose a harsher sentence. The potential sentence for each criminal offense is outlined as a range in the statute. Each statute will establish a minimum fine and a maximum fine along with a minimum and maximum jail sentence. Where the final sentence will fall depends on the person’s past criminal history and the facts of the case.
For example, let’s say that Dan is being charged with California Assault and has been arrested for assault in the past and convicted. The potential range for assault is fines up to a $1,000 in fines and zero to six months in county jail. The Court will consider Dan’s prior conviction of assault and will impose a fine closer to $1,000 and possibly a jail sentence because the impression will be that Dan has not learned his lesson.
In contrast, if Dan did not have a prior criminal record, the Court would generally be a little more relaxed in imposing a fine and a jail sentence, since it is a first time offense.
When a person does not have a prior criminal record, it is beneficial for the Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer to help prepare a powerful argument in having the case reduced or dismissed. By demonstrating to the Prosecutor and the Judge that the offense was out of character and that the person being charged is generally a very positive member of society, it helps negotiations for a reduced charge.
For example, Dan is being charged with assault, but has no prior criminal record, not even a traffic ticket. He volunteers, is enrolled in college and is working part time to pay bills. An experienced Criminal Defense attorney will use positive examples from Dan’s life to present him to the court as more than a case number, but as a person who is an asset to the community and who made a mistake. If the defense attorney can prepare a strong portrayal of Dan’s positive characteristics, the government will be more likely to reduce the charges against Dan to possibly even an infraction or dismiss the case altogether. If the attorney is unable to reduce or dismiss the case, it is likely that the Judge will impose a lesser penalty due to the lack of prior offenses on Dan’s record.