Judge in a CourtroomIn the past, have you ever seen two people who committed two very similar crimes, receive vastly different penalties? As a result of this, federal sentencing guidelines went through many changes, to arrive at where we are today. Many courts across the country now look at sentences with minimum and maximum imprisonment terms – which left ultimate decisions up to the parole board. Things changed over time and now judges must calculate the guidelines and consider them for each individual conviction.

When determining a defendant’s sentence, federal sentencing guidelines consider who factors. The first factor requires that consideration be paid to the particular crime. Second, the criminal’s previous history must be considered, such as if they committed the same crime before or not. Sometimes they will also consider drastic factors that played a role in the crime, such as if there were injuries to the victims and if the crime was complex or not.

Are Sentencing Guidelines Good or Bad? 

It really depends on how you look at it. Some states allow a judge to have discretion over what happens to the defendant. In these states, there is sometimes a concern over whether or not criminal sentences are influenced by race or class. Many people oppose these guidelines because they believe that it does not allow a judge to take individual circumstances into consideration. However, some people remain in favor of them because, without guidelines, judges could hand down different punishments for the same crime.

Regardless of what you believe, sentencing guidelines could either be a good or bad thing in your criminal case. If you have committed or been charged with a crime, you may have questions about your sentence. Luckily for you, we can help you understand the guidelines in California and help you come to proper conclusions about your case.