1.Will the defendant be sentenced the same day he/she is found guilty of a violent crime?

In violent-crime cases, a sentencing hearing is scheduled approximately 30 days after the trial ends. A pre-sentence investigation report (PSI)will be completed by the probation department for the judge to review before sentencing the defendant. The victim also has the right to present a victim impact statement (VIS) at the sentencing hearing. The VIS must be done in writing in conjunction with the State’s Attorney's Office prior to the sentencing. Please contact the assigned victim-witness coordinator for assistance with the VIS.

2.What is a Sentencing Hearing?

A sentencing hearing is scheduled after a defendant changes his plea from a not guilty to a plea of guilty in front of the judge and has waived his/her rights to a trial, or after a trial and the defendant is found guilty of the crime. At the sentencing hearing the judge determines what is going to happen to the defendant as a result of committing the crime. Sentences can vary depending on the crime committed and a variety of factors taken into account. Violent-crime victims have the right to present a victim impact statement done is writing in conjunction with the State’s Attorney's Office at the sentencing hearing.

3.What is a Pre-sentence Investigation report (PSI)?

The PSI is like a miniature biography on the defendant’s life and criminal history. It is a confidential report that only the prosecutor, defense, and judge is allowed to read. The report is written by a special unit in the Lake County Probation Department and may contain a victim analysis section summarizing the impact the crime has had on the victim(s) in addition to facts about the defendant who is waiting to be sentenced for the crime committed.

4.What happens if the defendant is sentenced to the Department of Corrections (prison)?

The defendant will be transported to prison from the Lake County Jail. Inmates in prison can be tracked on the Illinois Department of Corrections website click on inmate search. It will show which prison facility the offender will be housed, which county he/she was sentenced in, and his/her tentative release date will be posted. You can also request in writing to be notified of the defendant’s status, or sign up with the automated victim notification system to be notified of changes in the inmate status. 

5.How much actual time will a defendant serve on his incarceration sentence in the department of corrections (prison)?

Each sentence varies depending on the crime. Additionally offenders can receive credit for time served while in custody awaiting disposition. Most crimes are served 50% day for a day good time, some violent crimes are served at higher percentages. First degree murder is the only crime that is served at 100% of the sentence. It is best to get a full explanation of potential incarceration time from the prosecutor who handled the case.