Sentencing Primary Caretaker of Dependent Child
Unless a sentence is required by law, a defendant can now request consideration of the defendant’s status as a primary caretaker of a dependent child before imposing a sentence of incarceration. A “primary caretaker” is defined as a parent with whom a child under the age of 18 has a primary residence. This request must be made within 10 days after the entry of judgment by a motion supported by an affidavit. If this motion is filed, the court needs to issue written findings concerning the defendant’s status as a primary caretaker of a dependent child and alternatives to incarceration. When this motion is filed, a court cannot impose a sentence of incarceration without first issuing these written findings.
This is a new development of the recent crime bill signed last year. Often overlooked, it can be a potent argument for a judge that is balancing whether to sentence a single mother or single father or simply a guardian of a young child to any jail sentence. The argument here is not that the person should get special consideration, but that the court should examine the situation of the individual since a single parent going to jail can be significantly disruptive to a young child and the family unit. Often the expectation will be that the child requires government intervention and costly services to provide such an intervention for any parentless child. A closer examination of the facts and circumstances by a judge will hopefully ensure that the sentence (if it includes jail time) is truly warranted in that case.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH A CRIME, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.