When you are charged with a criminal offense in North Dakota or Minnesota, you likely want one question answered: “Will I go to jail?” It is completely reasonable and understandable that you would be concerned about the likelihood of imprisonment because keeping your job, providing for your family, and being able to participate in your family members’ lives are all negatively impacted when you are behind bars. While every case is different, there are certain factors which, if present, can make it more likely that a court will sentence you to imprisonment.
Certainly, imprisonment is more likely if you are convicted of a felony than a misdemeanor. However, the presence of one or more of following factors can also mean the court is more likely to impose a prison sentence:
- An extensive criminal history or history of not complying with probation: The more crimes you have committed in the past, the less likely it is that the court will grant you probation or supervision in your present case. Even if your criminal history is not lengthy, however, the court may still be inclined to sentence you to prison if it appears you have not been successful in the past on supervision or probation.
- Crimes committed against people as opposed to property: Courts are less likely to suspend the imposition of a prison or jail sentence if your criminal act was directed toward a person or somehow caused injury to another person (especially a child). While this would (obviously) include assaults and homicide offenses, some courts may consider drug distribution offenses to have “victims.”
- Victims who request the imposition of a prison sentence: While a sentencing judge need not (and, in most every case, should not) impose a particular sentence just because of a statement or request made by the victim, some judges may do this because they feel the victim deserves “justice.” If the victim in your case makes a statement to the court and in so doing requests that you serve a prison or jail sentence, this may be enough of a reason for the court to impose a prison or jail sentence.
Why You Need Legal Representation in Your Criminal Case
Because any misdemeanor or felony conviction can (potentially) result in the imposition of a jail or prison sentence, you need experienced and aggressive legal representation throughout your case. Your North Dakota or Minnesota criminal defense lawyer can assist you in defending against the charges that have been brought against you. If a conviction does result in your case, your knowledgeable criminal defense attorney may be able to help you avoid some of the more serious consequences of a conviction, including imprisonment. Contact Tatum O’Brien at the dedicated North Dakota and Minnesota criminal defense law firm of O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys by reaching out to the firm online, or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002.
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