What are the federal sentencing guidelines?

The federal sentencing guidelines are rules set up to ensure consistency in sentencing. The guidelines set a minimum and maximum penalty for the crime charged. Your sentence must be within these guidelines unless your attorney shows that you qualify for an exception.

Federal guidelines take many factors into consideration. These considerations include:

The offender’s prior record (if any)
The nature of the crime
Any aggravating factors (such as did the person have a weapon or was the amount of money taken very large)
Whether the person was the primary actor of the crime (for instance; was the plan all your idea or did you work with someone else that may be more culpable).

The judge may also consider factors such as the defendant’s behavior while on pretrial release and any remorse, rehabilitation or attempts to rectify the situation.

It is illegal for you to receive a sentence outside the guidelines without a finding as to why. There is certain criteria in place that allows you to receive a sentence below or above the stated guidelines. But usually you receive a sentence within the guideline range.

Posted in: Federal Offenses