After your trial the jury will return a verdict. If the jury finds you innocent you are able to walk out of the courtroom that same day.

If the jury returns a guilty verdict, the jury will recommend a sentence in some cases. If the crime was a misdemeanor, a sentence will likely be issued by the judge on that same day. If the crime is a felony or sometimes a more complicated misdemeanor, a sentence hearing will be held at a later date.

In a felony case in Virginia, judges use a sentencing worksheet created by the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission. This worksheet limits the discretion of judges in sentencing felonies though the recommendation from the worksheet is not a mandatory sentence.

A sentence does not necessarily mean that your trial has to end. You may be eligible for appeal which may change your sentence in a new trial. You also might not be able to appeal. If you are placed on probation, it is important to follow any rules of your probation to the letter as courts tend to be unforgiving of violations of probation.

A good criminal defense attorney will be able to help negotiate your sentence, begin an appeals process, or might be able to help you avoid conviction. When the stakes are high, having a criminal defense attorney who understands not only the criminal justice system in Virginia, but you and your case, will help you achieve the best outcome given your circumstances.

See also:

  • Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission Worksheets
  • Code of Virginia ยง 19.2-298
  • The Process
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