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Basic sentencing rules for federal crimes

On Behalf of | Sep 29, 2022 | Criminal Defense

In Mississippi, the intensity of the crime and the past behavior of the criminal are the two main factors when determining federal prison sentences. In general, violent crimes that threaten the victim’s life carry more serious punishments than non-violent crimes. The U.S. Sentencing Commission sets national guidelines for federal prison sentences.

Minimum standards

Every crime has a base offense level. The level increases if the crime increases in complexity based on additional offenses that occur. Some levels increase based on the level of violence or aggression or financial loss that results. The offender’s criminal history is also considered. After subtracting or adding points and making adjustments, the final offense level is calculated.

Alterative circumstances

The Sentencing Commission sets guidelines on sentencing, but a judge makes the final decision on the sentence. The judge reviews any additional factors that increase or decrease the severity of the crime. He or she may select a lower or higher level sentence that is outside of the guideline range; however, any deviation from the standards has to be explained in writing. Since federal crimes are more serious than regular crimes, a major part of criminal defense is understanding the official rules about sentencing.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission sets guidelines on federal prison sentences that all federal judges and legal professionals must follow. A federal crime starts with a base offense level that varies by the type of crime. Additional points are added for additional factors, such as criminal history, that make the crime more serious. The federal sentencing guidelines set the minimum standards for how crimes and punishments are handled in the U.S.