Step 10 - Sentencing
Sentencing in Pennsylvania varies with the crime and can be the most confusing part of the criminal process. Most often, sentences are at the judge’s discretion; however, in Pennsylvania there are a number of mandatory minimum sentences that must be imposed if a defendant is convicted of a crime.
At the time of sentencing, the judge will consider the information in the pre-sentence report
before deciding the sentence. The pre-sentence report contains background information on the defendant such as, criminal record, medical or psychiatric reports, and any time the defendant spent in custody awaiting trial. The judge will also consult the "sentencing guidelines" to determine the minimum jail/prison sentence.
The judge may consider different alternatives, such as a fine, probation, community service, a sentence to jail or prison, or a combination. The judge must also order the defendant to make restitution
to any victims who have suffered financial harm.