What is a sentencing hearing in a criminal case?

Your sentencing may happen:

  • right after you
  • right after you’re found guilty at the end of a
  • at a later date asked for by you or the Crown

At your sentencing hearing, the judge decides your based on what they think is appropriate and reasonable.

The Criminal Code has sentencing principles and procedures that help the judge decide how to sentence you. For example, your sentence must be reasonable, and similar to those given to other people who committed similar crimes in similar circumstances.

When sentencing you, the judge may also consider:

  • a
  • victim impact statements
  • the facts of your
  • such as school transcripts, employment history, medical records etc.
  • your statement, if you decide to give one

Be prepared to give information to the court about:

  • your personal background, including where you were born, your education, work history, and family
  • any that apply to your case
  • how the principles of sentencing relate to your case
  • court decisions on similar cases which support the sentence you’d like to be given

The sentencing hearing is also your chance to:

  • admit what you’re guilty of doing
  • show what you’ve learned as a result of being and charged with a crime

Legal help

Talk to a lawyer or paralegal for help with your sentencing hearing. A lawyer will also try to negotiate the best deal possible for you.

If you don’t have a lawyer, you can speak with  before you go into the courtroom. Duty counsel are lawyers who work in the courthouse. They are employed by Legal Aid Ontario to help people who do not have a lawyer. They may be able to make sentencing submissions on your behalf.

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