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How Do I Commute My Sentence in Delaware?


Although there are many ways in which defendants can mitigate legal consequences in Delaware, commutation is an especially popular choice. Whether you are dealing with criminal charges personally or you are a concerned family member, you may wish to explore this option in more detail. What exactly is commutation in Delaware? How does one commute a sentence? Is this really the right choice for you?

What Is Commutation? 

According to the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School, commutation occurs when the government agrees to shorten or lessen any sentence or punishment associated with a criminal conviction. Commutations are only possible under certain circumstances, and they can only be granted by certain government officials. Federal convictions may only be commuted by the President of the United States, while state convictions are typically commuted by governors of the appropriate states.

Commutation is typically only possible if the defendant exhibits certain characteristics, such as:

  • Good behavior
  • Excessively old age
  • Illness
  • A re-examining of the case based on changing circumstances
  • The sentence was affected by political or ideological bias of a particular party

The Commutation Process in Delaware 

The commutation process is relatively extensive in Delaware, and it begins with filing a petition with the appropriate court. You can do this alongside a lawyer experienced with commutation – such as Michael W. Modica. A hearing may then be scheduled before the Board of Pardons, and your attorney can represent you during this hearing.

Note that as previously mentioned, the Governor of Delaware also plays a role in determining whether a commutation should be granted. In order to pursue the best possible results, those seeking commutations can undergo many other steps to improve their chances of success – such as undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

Is Commutation the Only Option?

Aside from commutation, there are many other ways to mitigate legal consequences in Delaware. An obvious example is a pardon. The difference between a pardon and a commutation is subtle. While the latter reduces the sentence, the former eliminates it entirely. With a pardon, it is almost as if the defendant never actually committed a crime in the first place. From a legal point of view, the defendant will experience none of the lasting consequences associated with the conviction – including the loss of gun rights, for example.

There are also many other options to mitigate legal consequences. One might pursue a reduced sentence that includes community service or the completion of rehab treatment instead of going to jail. You might also pursue a plea deal that will lead to a reduced sentence. Speak with your criminal defense attorney for a full range of options based on your unique circumstances.

Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Delaware? 

If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced Wilmington criminal defense attorney, look no further than Michael W. Modica, Attorney at Law. Not only do we have experience with commutations, but we are also familiar with a range of additional strategies for those who wish to mitigate legal consequences. To discuss the most appropriate option for your unique situation, book a consultation today.




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