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click to enlarge The federal sentencing guidelines are rules that federal judges are required to consider when sentencing someone who has been convicted of a crime.Intended to give federal judges fair and consistent sentencing ranges to consult when they are handing down a sentence, the guidelines are based on both the seriousness of the crime and the particular offender’s characteristics and criminal record. (.) But a judge who wants to impose a sentence that is different—whether it’s harsher or more lenient—from the one calculated by using the guidelines must explain the decision.For example, someone with a criminal history category of I convicted of a criminal offense of level 8 should be sentenced to between zero and six months in prison.However, someone convicted of the same level 8 offense but with a criminal history category of V should be sentenced to between 15 and 21 months in prison.

This is done by using a table that tells judges what the appropriate sentencing range is for different crimes.

There are many other reasons that a judge might deviate from the guidelines in a particular case.

Finally, it is important to understand that the use of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines is not mandatory as the United States Supreme Court ruled in United States v.

The number of points awarded for each conviction can get technical and complicated but some examples are: All the points are added up and the total is used to determine the Criminal History Category of the convicted person.

The Guidelines have six different criminal history categories.

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