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The Meaning of Conviction and Sentencing in South Dakota

Drew Duncan
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan and Cole, LLP

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Our legal team recently talked about the differences between a criminal charge and a criminal conviction in South Dakota—but what about the differences between the conviction and sentencing for a crime? While the two terms go hand-in-hand during criminal proceedings, they don’t mean exactly the same thing. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Conviction. When you are convicted of a crime, it has been determined that you are guilty of the alleged offense, and that conviction goes on your criminal record. At this point, it has only been determined that you are guilty of the offense, not how you will be penalized.
  • Sentencing. Following a conviction, you will be sentenced for the criminal offense, which means that the punishment for your crime will be determined. A judge will take many factors into account when deciding your punishment, including state and federal sentencing guidelines, your past criminal history, the type and severity of the offense, and other details of your case.

Essentially, conviction and sentencing are related, but they represent two different steps in the same process—and both could be avoided if you are able to build a strong defense before it’s too late.

Are you facing criminal charges in South Dakota? Do you need help understanding your rights and navigating the criminal process? Do you have questions about a loved one’s arrest? Don’t wait any longer to reach out for help. Speak with our experienced legal team today at 888-733-2992, or take a moment to tell us more about your situation with the convenient and confidential contact form on this page.

Category: Criminal Defense


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