Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence

Explore our in-depth guide on filing a Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence. Understand the legal process, criteria, and how Scrofano Law PC can assist in modifying a sentence.

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Understanding the Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence

Sometimes, when a defendant is found guilty and sentenced for a crime they committed, the punishment may seem disproportionate. With the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to file a Motion to Reconsider, which presents an opportunity for the sentence to be reduced or modified.

A Motion to Reconsider is, at best, a “long shot.” Moreover, in most cases, it is not successful. It is important to understand that a Motion to Reconsider only can result in a change to the sentence, not the underlying guilty verdict.

If you believe your case may be eligible for a sentencing reconsideration, contacting a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer can benefit your case. Virginia criminal lawyer Gretchen Taylor Pousson of Scrofano Law, PC, is here to help.

With over 25 years of trial experience, she has filed many different post-conviction motions, including Motions for Reconsideration. Visit Scrofano Law PC’s main page for more insights regarding our services.

What Is a Motion for Reconsideration of Sentence?

A Motion for Reconsideration is a legal request to a court asking the court to reconsider the defendant’s sentence. This means the judge re-examines only the sentence that the court imposed after finding the defendant guilty.

It is crucial to understand that a Motion to Reconsider cannot erase the fact that a person was found guilty of an offense. Also, the court cannot eliminate all the incarceration time imposed with the original sentence. However, it can correct a sentence imposed and modify a part of the incarceration time. These corrections can also include length of probation, fines, and amount of restitution. 

Overall, a Motion for Reconsideration serves as a legal avenue for defendants to challenge and potentially alter the consequences of a guilty verdict to achieve a more desirable outcome.

Legal Grounds for Filing

If you are facing a sentence after being convicted for a crime and are still being held in the local jail, you may file a Motion to Reconsider. It is critical to understand that this option is time-sensitive.

The court will not be able to modify a sentence once a defendant is in the state prison system, as opposed to the local detention facility. A person convicted of a felony and ordered to serve a sentence in a prison managed by the Department of Correction (DOC) cannot request this motion after they are transferred to prison. But, there might be a chance for filing this motion before that transfer or within 60 days of such transfer under the Virginia Code § 19.2-303.

Furthermore, a Motion to Reconsider must include a new argument or piece of evidence that should have been considered when the sentencing judge made the decision. Typically, substantial reasons are required by judges to approve this motion.

Difference Between an Appeal and a Motion for Reconsideration

Generally, when you appeal, you ask a higher court to review a decision made by a lower court judge because you believe the judge made a mistake. If you win, the most likely outcome will be another trial. Although there is a chance to be found not guilty, there is also a chance of another, possibly harsher sentence. 

On the other hand, a Motion to Reconsider can not make the defendant’s sentence worse than it already is. That means there is little risk in requesting one.

An appeal may be the most well-known procedure to pursue after a verdict. However, filing appeals is complicated, and a limited number of appeals are typically available to criminal defendants. Due to its complexity, criminal appeals often require the assistance of a skilled appellate lawyer. Ultimately, the circumstances of the case will dictate whether an appeal or Motion to Reconsider is appropriate.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can be crucial. Your attorney will guide you through criminal justice proceedings and the next steps if you are convicted.

Want to know what to expect when you’re expecting a Virginia criminal charge? Reach out to Scrofano Law, PC, for guidance.

The Process of Filing a Motion

Filing a Motion to Reconsider involves several stages and a thorough preparation. There will not be endless opportunities to present this motion to the judge.

Initial Steps and Preparation

First, a motion must be in writing, stating the reasons why the judge should reconsider the previously imposed legal sentence.

All evidence supporting the motion should be included in the initial filing. This can include letters outlining health-related issues from a healthcare provider, letters from family and employers, or even certificates of completed programs while incarcerated. Particular attention should be paid to any mitigating changes in circumstances that were not presented at the original sentencing hearing.

Filing the Motion 

The Motion to Reconsider and supporting documents are filed with the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. A copy must also be sent to the trial judge who made the ruling.

In addition to mitigating evidence or change in circumstances, these motions should also contain other information, including:

  • Defendant’s full name

  • Applicable criminal case numbers

  • Date of the sentencing court hearing when the original sentence was imposed

  • Name of the trial court judge who made the sentencing decision 

Upon receiving this motion, the judge can either deny or grant the motion. The judge may also set a date for a hearing regarding the motion.

How Scrofano Law, PC Can Help

Hiring a Fairfax criminal defense lawyer is highly recommended when you are being charged with a crime in Virginia. Our legal team at Scrofano Law, PC, can offer guidance and support and represent you in court. 

Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Unfortunately, in some cases, a conviction may seem inevitable. But that doesn’t mean we stop fighting. If your case is eligible, we can pursue a Motion for Reconsideration and any other available recourse.

Want to Learn More About a Motion for Reconsideration? Call Scrofano Law, PC Today!

Facing a prison sentence can be daunting. It can be even worse if the sentence feels disproportionate to the crime or if you are facing a personal situation. A Motion for Reconsideration allows those in challenging situations to modify or reduce their sentences.

Succeeding on a Motion for Reconsideration can be challenging. That’s why the help of a seasoned advocate is often essential. 

As someone who understands both sides of the courtroom, Gretchen Taylor Pousson, a leader of Scrofano Law, PC’s Virginia criminal practice group, may be the right person for this task. She can leverage her decades of experience as a defense attorney and former prosecutor to achieve the most favorable result in your case. 

Contact us today to learn more and find out how we can help


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I hired Gretchen Taylor over 10 years ago, when I was very young and she successfully defended me from a false allegation.

Now I’m very successful in life, and I have to give Gretchen a ton of credit for her help! She is extremely honest, hardworking, kind, and sees the best in people. She believed in me, and she’s also a very good lawyer.

Through this process I grew up, and I learned that there are good and bad women, good and bad men, and that it’s important to be careful about who you associate with, or hang around or date, because even when you live your life with honesty and integrity, some people are simply trouble. Thanks to this, I’ve been happily married to my amazing wife for almost a decade now, and successful financially. Gretchen didn’t only win my case but she really had good wisdom for me too. She’s very knowledgeable about the law and doesn’t let the system take advantage of you.,

You won’t find a better lawyer, period!

Iracely Pinto

I just wanted to thank Mrs. Taylor for representing me at the Courthouse! She was great dealing with the people there and defended me well with professionalism, courage, and confidence. From the moment I spoke with her over the phone, I knew she was the right Attorney to represent me and defende me from an angry Police Officer who charged me with reckless driving and 2 others tickets. All was unfair and not true. She was just amazing at the Courtroom, and what was supposed to take hours, it just took less than 30 minutes. All the charges against me was dismissed and my record was clear. Thank you God for Mrs. Gretchen Taylor and for her help and for her great experience and dedication towards myself. I highly recommend Mrs. Taylor to anyone in need of a Lawyer.

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Gretchen was a joy to work with because of her wittiness and fast thinking. She was actually recommended to me by another Lawyer who admired the way she handled things in a courtroom they were both in.

Her advice, encouragement, and patience with me as she handled my case was admirable. She knows her stuff and I felt confident that she was able to get the best outcome for my case based on my interactions with her. Her fast thinking and knowledge of the law and procedures allowed for my case to be dismissed. She is fast on her feet, ready to fight for you while being poised.

If you are looking for someone who is going to listen to you, knows the law, willing to fight on your behalf and is empathetic while at it, please go with Gretchen. You will not regret it.

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