When a convicted person is sentenced, his or her punishment often seems random. Believe it or not, judges don’t have a lot of power in sentencing. Most laws in federal criminal law—and most laws in individual state criminal laws—have sentencing guidelines attached.
This means that when you are found guilty, you will be sentenced according to the guidelines attached to the specific charge. For example, I was convicted of manufacturing a controlled substance. I have also been convicted of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. In Missouri, these were all considered “B” felonies at the time.
For the “B” felonies, the law requires me to serve a sentence of 5 to 15 years on each charge. The judge in my case heard the prosecutor’s request for a maximum sentence on both charges, even though it was my first non-violent crime.
That’s why I was sentenced to 30 years in prison (two 15 year sentences, served concurrently) when I was arrested for 12 marijuana plants found in the house I lived in.
For some crimes, the additional penalty is life imprisonment. Usually, this happens when someone is convicted of murder. If a person is convicted of killing multiple people, they can receive multiple life sentences.
In states with “three strikes” laws, when someone is convicted of three crimes (whether they were violent or nonviolent), they are also given a mandatory life sentence as a recidivist. Most of these draconian laws are now off the books, yet people are still serving prison sentences for them.
All of this brings me to the topic of today’s post: How long is a life sentence?
In this blog post, I’ll cover the following topics:
- What would happen if you were sentenced to life in prison?
- Why do people get multiple life sentences?
- the rules are complicated
- What happens to your money if you are sentenced to life in prison?
What would happen if you were sentenced to life in prison?
Depending on where a person is sentenced, life sentences range from 15 years to the rest of the person’s life. Usually, a violent crime like murder will result in a life sentence without the possibility of parole. This is a true life sentence, which means the criminal will die in prison.
However, in some jurisdictions, life sentences are eligible for parole after a certain number of years, such as 15, 25 or 40. When a person is sentenced with the possibility of parole, they must serve the minimum amount of time legally required for their conviction. They can then apply to the Parole Board for release. In this case, however, parole is never a guarantee.
The law is absolutely omnipresent when it comes to life sentences with the possibility of parole. They vary according to the location and severity of the crime committed.
Why do people get multiple life sentences?
Since a life sentence does not always mean that the convicted person will spend the rest of his life behind bars, in some cases a judge will sentence someone to multiple consecutive life sentences.
This usually happens in murders with multiple victims. The judge will review the crime committed and decide whether the defendant should have the opportunity to be paroled back into the community at some point.
So, if someone is convicted of 2 separate murders and each gets a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 20 years, then consecutive life sentences will guarantee that the person will serve time in prison At least 40 years. Reasonable?
Let’s look at a specific example that does not involve homicide. fbi agent robert hanson He spied for the Soviets and Russians for decades before his arrest in February 2001.
While serving as a Soviet spy, Hansen collected approximately $1.4 million to “provide lists of undercover U.S. agents abroad, the identities of Russian double agents, documents showing U.S. interception of Soviet satellite transmissions, and methods for U.S. retaliation” in the event of a nuclear attack. “
He was indicted on 21 counts of espionage and initially pleaded not guilty to all charges. But to avoid the death penalty, Hansen agreed to a plea deal that included fifteen consecutive life sentences. This guarantees that he will spend the rest of his life in prison, as he must serve at least 200 years before he is eligible for parole.
the rules are complicated
Criminal sentencing laws can get quite complicated in most states, especially when it comes to life sentences and the possibility of parole. Typically, states have two different categories of life sentences. As we discussed earlier, some life sentence offenses have the possibility of parole and others do not.
There is also the issue of when the crime is committed, since the laws are constantly changing. For example, in Georgia, if a parolee — an eligible felon serving a life sentence for a serious violent crime such as murder or rape — commits a crime before July 1, 2006, he or she is eligible to Parole after 14 years.
However, due to changes in state law, those convicted of the same violent crime after July 1, 2006 will only be eligible for parole after 30 years in custody. Georgia felons serving life sentences for drug offenses can apply for parole after seven years. But again, this could change, as these laws are not set in stone. Not in Georgia or any other state.
What happens to your money if you are sentenced to life in prison?
With the exception of a few specific types of crimes, when someone is sentenced to life in prison, absolutely nothing will happen to their money, property, and assets.
In fact, when you are arrested and sent to prison, you are still responsible for all financial obligations. From your rent to your Netflix subscription, you’re still legally responsible for those bills.
When you have been sentenced to life in prison—and you still have money left in your bank account or assets that need to be sold—prisoners can delegate a power of attorney to someone they trust or hire a lawyer to handle their finances.
After you pay all court costs, fines and all bills related to your case, prisoners can keep their money and deposit it into their prison trust account. This will allow them to buy items from the commissary, such as clothes and hygiene products.
Did you know life sentences are so complicated? Let us know in the comments below.
Sources: How Long is a Life Sentence? Why do judges hand out multiple life sentences? How long is a life sentence? There was a Russian spy in the FBI for 15 years, and even he warned of election tampering What happens to my money if I go to jail or prison? https://www.dennisdwyerlaw.com/what-happens-to-my-money-if-i-go-to-jail-or-prison#:~:text=If%20you%20have%20it%20in,may%20freeze%20all%20your%20assets. WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR STUFF WHEN YOU GET SENT TO PRISON FOR LIFE?