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The Importance of a Well-Planned Sentencing Presentation

Our primary goal at Anderegg & Associates is always to avoid a conviction. We do not hesitate to take any case to trial and our reputation in this regard serves us well during negotiations. Nevertheless, there are times when the facts and circumstances of a particular case dictate that our efforts are better focused on the sentencing phase of the case. Some of our best work has been in minimizing the impact of a conviction on our clients through effective and thorough representation at a sentencing hearing.

A Second Chance to Lead a Productive Life
Hank was a responsible seventeen-year-old doing well in school and working a part-time job when he was invited to join a group of friends who engaged in multiple sexual acts with a young girl. Although the sex acts were consensual, the girl was a runaway who, at just 13 years of age, was legally incapable of consenting to such activity. Consequently, Hank, along with the others, was charged with multiple counts of first degree sexual assault of a minor. Hank came to the law firm of Anderegg & Associates for help. Since Hank had already given highly inculpatory statements to the police following his arrest, the attorneys at Anderegg & Associates realized it might be in Hank’s best interests to use his quick acceptance of responsibility to his benefit rather than try to challenge those statements. Once it was determined Hank had properly been provided his Miranda rights prior to giving his statement, the die was cast. It was unlikely Hank could prevail at a trial where his confession would be used against him. The attorneys at Anderegg & Associates therefore set about the task of working out a plea agreement and working up a sentencing presentation that would minimize the impact of the charges on Hank. Great effort was made to highlight Hank’s positive attributes: no prior criminal record, good attendance and grades in school, a part-time job, solid family upbringing, genuine remorse, cooperation with police, etc. Using this information, the attorneys at Anderegg & Associates were able to secure a favorable plea recommendation from the district attorney. The attorney then had Hank privately evaluated by a psychologist to establish he did not fit the profile of a sexual predator. Armed with all of this information, the attorney convinced the judge to impose a sentence which did not require any incarceration and more importantly, which exempted Hank from having to register as a sex offender. Hank is now in college and quietly complying with some reasonable terms of probation which should be completed before his graduation. In the end, the judge agreed with Hank’s attorney that Hank should be given a second chance to lead a productive life. Hit and Run
Dale was charged with felony hit and run after a sudden lane change in his tractor-trailer rig caused another vehicle to flip over seriously injuring the vehicle’s occupants. Unfortunately, Dale did not stop following the accident, but instead, continued down the road several miles before he was stopped by police. Dale was subsequently charged with two felony counts of Reckless Driving – Causing Bodily Harm.

When Dale sought legal counsel, he was referred to Anderegg & Associates by a friend who had been successfully defended by that firm. The attorneys at Anderegg & Associates initially urged Dale to take his case to trial, firmly believing Dale when he stated that given the size of his rig, he had not even realized his rig had clipped another vehicle. Moreover, Dale’s sudden lane change had been prompted by a vehicle making a u-turn in an opening in the interstate median, a vehicle which Dale’s attorney determined was a county sheriff transporting a prisoner. Dale, however, having been fully informed of the pros and cons of going to trial and what such a proceeding would entail, advised his attorney he wanted to resolve the case without a trial. Accordingly, Dale’s attorney divulged the exculpatory facts comprising the defense strategy to the prosecutor throughout the course of negotiations thereby securing a favorable sentencing recommendation.

To prepare for the sentencing hearing, Dale’s attorney focused the firm’s resources on demonstrating how the accident was caused by the need for Dale to take an evasive maneuver. Counsel further explained how the minor impact with the other vehicle could have been masked by the violent braking of his own rig, especially when Dale was so distracted by his efforts to void striking the squad car. Thereafter, Dale’s attorney highlighted Dale’s acceptance of responsibility, the fact he had insurance to compensate the victims, his lack of a prior record and his advanced age and frail health. Ultimately, the felony charge was amended to a misdemeanor. The court sentenced Dale to probation, without any incarceration, and did not revoke Dale’s operating privileges.

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