A guest blog post by: Imani-Allyse Mitchell & Maryvy Moreno - A-TECH Academy interns:
Let's say you don’t like your sentence after a guilty plea or a trial. Is it too long of a sentence? Is it unfair or is the verdict wrong? Are there any other options? One important option includes filing an appeal.
Sentencing is a necessary process where a judge decides what punishment to give someone who is convicted or pleaded guilty (or no contest). Although some crimes have set punishments, most have varying windows, usually large, in which the judge can base the sentencing decision. This judicial discretion is based upon what he or she sees fit in your particular case based on what your lawyer and the prosecuting lawyer bring to the table in the sentencing hearing. Mitigating evidence can make the sentence more lenient by making you less blameworthy but ultimately it is the judge's call as to what they see fit for an appropriate sentence.
It is within your best interest to know with minimum and maximum sentencing in Nevada. Misdemeanors have a maximum of 6 months in CCDC and $1,000 in fines, gross misdemeanor a maximum of a year in CCDC and $2,000 in fines, and felonies can vary between probation and life in prison depending on the crime committed. In the hearing you have right to be present, to an attorney, to present evidence, to have the court presented with a substantially accurate pre-sentence report, or to propose alternate sentencing. If you feel that any of these have been violated then you may file an appeal. A notice of appeal that alerts the court that you want to appeal is due within 30 days of the written judgment of conviction being filed.
An appeal is when someone is found guilty and wants a higher court to review the case. When a person thinks their sentencing was unfair, too long or if inappropriate evidence was considered, then that person has the right to an appeal. If the appellate court decides that the sentence was in fact wrong or unfair, then the court may grant a new trial or a new sentencing hearing. However, if the court finds nothing wrong with the trial, then the conviction and sentencing stays the same.
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