How does the sentencing table work? Part - II

Posted by Chris Morales on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 12:04 PM

Extra circumstances that can add to or subtract the base level are also described in the manual. This type of up-or-down change is called a "departure." Anything that causes the base level to increase to a higher number is called an "upward departure" or "enhancement."

The other main component used to characterize a criminal for sentencing purposes is the person's criminal history. Above the six columns of number are Roman numerals and criminal history points. These points are allocated by considering a person's criminal past together with their current crime. An example might be a case where a person's current crime occurred while on probation for a past crime. This would result in a n enhancement yielding a higher criminal history number. The chapter of The Sentencing Manual which deals with criminal history gives details on how to rate a person's criminal history category.

The category a person falls under is determined by his or her personal criminal history. (Sec. 4A1.1) unless the individual is defined as Career Offender (Sec. 4B1.1) or an Armed Career Criminal (Sec. 4B1.4).

Provided here are the essential portions of the guidelines chapter on criminal history. This information may be used to estimate your own criminal history points for use in the "sentencing table." Please be aware that nay number of things can influence the final total. Only your lawyer and prosecutor can hammer out the real numbers. This material is presented to help you understand how things work. You grasp of the system's workings just might aid your lawyer in working with you.

Note: The legal expression, "instant offense" simply means the offense with which you are currently charged.

Criminal History Category:

The total point [from items (a) through (f)] determine the criminal history category in the Sentencing Table.

(a) Add 3 points for each prior sentence of imprisonment exceeding one year and one month.

(b) Add 2 points for each prior sentence of imprisonment of at least sixty days not counted in (a).

(c) Add 1 point for each prior sentence not counted in (a) or (b), up to a total of 4 points for this item.

(d) Add 2 points if the defendant committed the instant offense while under any criminal justice sentence, including probation, parole, supervised release, imprisonment, work release, or escape status.

(e) Add 2 points if the defendant committed the instant offense less than two years after release from imprisonment of a sentence counted under (a) or (b) or while in imprisonment or escape statues on such a sentence. If 2 points are added for item (d), add only 1 point for this item.

(f) Add 1 point for each prior sentence resulting from a conviction of a crime of violence that did not receive any points under (a), (b), or (c) because such sentence was considered related to another sentence resulting from a conviction of crime of violence, up to a total 3 points for this item. It is understood that this item does not apply when the sentences are considered related because the offense occurred on the same occasion.

Career Offender

A defendant is a career offender if (1) the defendant was a t least eighteen years old at the time defendant committed the instant offense of conviction, (2) the instant offense of conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense, and (3) the defendant has a t least two prior felony conviction of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense. If the offense level for a career criminal from the table below is greater than the offense level otherwise applicable, the offense level from the table below shall apply a career offender’s criminal history category in every case shall be Category VI.

Offense Statutory Maximum Offense Level
(A) Life 37
(B) 25 years or more 34
(C) 20 years or more, but less than 25 years 32
(D) 15 years or more, but less than 20 years 29
(E) 10 years or more, but less than 15 years 24
(F) 5 years or more, but less than 10 years 17
(G) More than 1 year, but less than 5 years 12

* If an adjustment from Sec.3E1,1 (Acceptance of Responsibility) applies, decrease the offense level by the number of levels corresponding to the adjustment.

The Morales Law Firm would like to thank Mad Dogs guide to Club Fed (Instruction Manuel for Newcomers) for sharing this information with us.

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Tags: offense, imprisonment, crime, violence