Trying To Get A Lighter Sentence? Here Are Four Things To Do.

You made a mistake and committed a crime. Now, you've been convicted and are waiting to learn what sentence the court is going to impose on you. What can you (and your lawyer) do to try to get the court to give you a lenient sentence?

1. Try to get a court appearance early in the morning or right after lunch.

The reality is that a judge's mood can affect the outcome of your case. Judges often have a lot of leeway when imposing a sentence. At least one study has shown that judges are 65% more likely to issue favorable rulings if they hear the case early in the morning. Their favorable attitude waned as the day wore on, only to pick up again after the judges had a snack or went to lunch.

While the study involved parole hearings, scientists theorize that the judicial bias might hold true in other situations as well. Ask your attorney to try to arrange for a court hearing that is early in the day or right after lunchtime.

2. Let the court know that you are genuinely remorseful for your actions.

Unless you planned to commit a crime, you probably deeply regret whatever it is that you did. Make sure that the court is aware that you're remorseful for what you did, not just that you got caught.

This can be especially effective if you pled guilty to your crime instead of fighting the charges. (If you aggressively fought the charges in a protracted court battle, expressions of remorse might come off as a rather jaded last-ditch attempt to avoid consequences.) Write the court and ask your attorney to present the letter to the judge or presentencing investigator.

3. Watch what you post on your social media pages.

If you are currently out on bail while you wait for sentencing or otherwise have access to the internet, watch what you put on your social media pages. Poor judgement and an ill-timed post or two could have a significant impact on your case. If you pled guilty in court, don't declare your innocence on a social media site, or you might find your guilty plea tossed out.

If your plea gets tossed out, any agreement you had with prosecutors for a reduced sentence or probation will go out with it. If you are trying to convince the court of your sincere remorse, photos of you living it up and partying during the period before your sentence is determined can be used in court to make you look very unrepentant.

4. Be willing to cooperate with the police and prosecutors.

There's no room for misplaced loyalties when you are facing jail time. If you weren't the only person involved in the crime, your willingness to provide information to prosecutors and to testify against the other people involved can go a long way toward reducing your sentence.

For example, a controller involved in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme was able to get off with asset forfeiture and a symbolic order of restitution because she testified against her boss. By comparison, her boss is now serving a 150-year prison term.

For more information, contact Sam Douglas Young Attorney at Law or a similar legal professional.