Whenever someone is arrested for a crime, the first thought that comes to their mind is: “if I end up going to jail for this, how much time am I likely to get?”. The answer to this question isn’t quite straightforward as there are several factors involved.
For anyone convicted of a crime or pleading guilty in the state of Pennsylvania, the job of sentencing falls squarely on the shoulders of the trial judge. They have to consider some factors when deciding on a sentence, chief of which is the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines.
The Commission for Sentencing prepares the Sentencing Guidelines. They are recommendations for sentencing based on how bad the crime is and previous offenses. It is important to note that in the majority of cases, judges tend to give quite a lot of weight to these guidelines. If you are accused of a crime in Pennsylvania, you may want to calculate your sentencing guidelines ahead of time.
Calculating Your Sentencing Guidelines
There are two things that Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines are based on:
- How serious the offense is which is often known as the “offense gravity score.” Any crime committed in Pennsylvania has an assigned value. The higher the value, the higher your offense gravity scores. For example, discharging a firearm in an occupied structure will net you a score of 10 while rape would carry an offense gravity score of 11. Here is how to check the scores.
- Your previous criminal record, also known as the “prior record score”. Each defendant is given a score usually between 1 and 5. For those with serious offenses, they may be categorized in the RFEL or RVOC category. For less serious crimes, the prior record score will be calculated as the addition of all points from previous convictions or adjudications up to the 5 point score limit. You can check up your prior record score here.
How The Sentencing Guidelines Can Help You With Litigation
The Sentencing Guidelines should be considered before deciding to litigate or not. For instance, if you have been charged with a minor offence, something like possession of a weapon in a court facility (offence gravity score 1), and you have no prior convictions, you might get only probation if convicted. In this instance, it might make sense to ignore an offer for probation and go to trial instead if you think you can win. On the other hand, someone else with the same charge with a high prior record score could get some fairly serious time.
Are Sentencing Guidelines Important?
The Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines are great for having a fairly accurate view of the future, but that future is not always right. If the guidelines all point to a high score, then it is likely you will be convicted and serve time. Lower scores may mean probation or house arrest. There may also be other factors in consideration including remorse, mental illness, good behavior, and so on.
The truth is that using Sentencing Guidelines is not an exact science, but choosing the right lawyers can help you beat the odds. The expert team at Wyland Law Group knows exactly what to do to navigate the entire process.
To book a consultation, visit their official website.