At a Sentencing Hearing, the judge will make a determination as to the sentence a convicted defendant will receive. Generally the sentence will involve a series of fines and/or an imposition of jail or prison time. Often times the sentence can be suspended and the defendant can be placed on probation. Other offenses will have mandatory minimum fines and jail/prison time that must be served.
A Sentencing Hearing is mandatory on felony convictions, because the State needs the time to produce a Pre-Sentencing Investigation report. This document will provide the judge with much of the information that he will use to make his decision.
If the charge is a misdemeanor and a plea agreement is reached, the Sentencing Hearing can generally be avoided.