Reviewing sentencing guidelines

The first question that most of those that come to us here at the Scott C. Brown Law Office after having been charged with a crime in Wheeling have is what sort of sentence they may be facing. If you find yourself in the same situation, then you likely have similar concerns. Typically, the laws detailing criminal offenses will also state what sort of punitive action is associated with them. While that information can serve as a baseline to form an estimation, the actual sentence imposed can be much different. 

The reason for these discrepancies is the differences associated with each case. Federal sentencing guidelines have been created to help establish uniformity in criminal procedures, yet even these allow for deviations. Per Section 3553(a)(4) of the Code of Federal Procedure, sentences should fall within whatever range is established for an applicable category of offense committed by an applicable category of defendant that is in place at the time said offense allegedly occurred. However, the statute also recognizes that there are aggravating or mitigating factors that might be related to a case that should be taken into account during sentencing. 

To account for such factors, another sentencing standard exists which requires a sentence to meet the following criteria: 

  • To reflect the seriousness of the offense and provide just punishment as well as a greater respect for the law
  • To serve as a deterrent for similar criminal conduct
  • To protect the general public
  • To provide you (or whomever is convicted) a reasonable chance at rehabilitation

These standards may serve as the basis on which to form an opinion as to whether a sentence that you receive is warranted based on whatever offense you allegedly committed. More information on criminal procedure guidelines can be found here on our site. 

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