Who ultimately decides punishment in a case?
In most cases the prosecutor in the case will present a sentencing offer, which could be prison time or probation. This decision is based on a full evaluation of the applicable laws and facts of the case, including the opinion of the victim or the guardian of the victim.
If the defendant chooses to decline the State’s offer, then in some cases they can plea to be sentenced by a judge or exercise their right to a jury trial. If the case is goes to trial and the defendant is found guilty by the jury, the defendant may choose to be sentenced by the judge or the jury.
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