Are you or a loved one faced with sentencing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania? I am the criminal lawyer who will offer you a tactical, dynamic, comprehensive, and compassionate defense. Generally, Courts have to follow sentencing guidelines. However, when one presents mitigating factors, a downward departure may be justified.
Laws regarding sentencing can be complicated. The following is some basic information:
§ 303.1. Sentencing guidelines standards.
- (a) The court shall consider the sentencing guidelines in determining the appropriate sentence for offenders convicted of, or pleading guilty or nolo contendere to, felonies and misdemeanors. Where crimes merge for sentencing purposes, the court shall consider the sentencing guidelines only on the offense assigned the higher offense Gravity score.
- (b) The sentencing guidelines do not apply to sentences imposed as a result of the following: accelerated rehabilitative disposition; disposition in lieu of trial; direct or indirect contempt of court; violations of protection from abuse orders; revocation of probation, intermediate punishment or parole.
- (c) The sentencing guidelines shall apply to all offenses committed on or after the effective date of the guidelines. Amendments to the guidelines shall apply to all offenses committed on or after the date the amendment becomes part of the guidelines.
- (1) When there are current multiple convictions for offenses that overlap two sets of guidelines, the former guidelines shall apply to offenses that occur prior to the effective date of the amendment and the later guidelines shall apply to offenses that occur on or after the effective date of the amendment. If the specific dates of the offenses cannot be determined, then the later guidelines shall apply to all offenses.
- (2) The initial sentencing guidelines went into effect on July 22, 1982 and applied to all crimes committed on or after that date. Amendments to the guidelines went into effect in June 1983, January 1986 and June 1986. On October 7, 1987 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated the guidelines due to a procedural error that occurred in 1981 when the legislature rejected the first set of guidelines. New guidelines were drafted and became effective on April 25, 1988. Amendments to the guidelines went into effect August 9, 1991 and December 20, 1991. Revised sets of guidelines became effective August 12, 1994, June 13, 1997, June 3, 2005, December 5, 2008, and December 28, 2012. An Amendment to the guidelines went into effect September 27, 2013.
- (d) In every case in which a court of record imposes a sentence for a felony or misdemeanor, the court shall make as a part of the record, and disclose in open court at the time of sentencing, a statement of the reason or reasons for the sentence imposed. In every case where a court of record imposes a sentence outside the sentencing guidelines, the reason or reasons for the deviation from the guidelines shall be recorded on the Guideline Sentence Form, a copy of which shall be electronically transmitted to the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing in the manner described in § 303.1(e).
- (e) Unless otherwise provided by the Commission, the JNET-based Sentencing Guidelines Software Web application (SGS Web) shall be used at the court’s direction to prepare all guideline-required sentencing information. The completed Guideline Sentence Form shall be made a part of the record and the information electronically submitted to the Commission via SGS Web no later than 30 days after the date of sentencing.
- (f) Effective January 1, 2014, the State Identification Number (SID) for an offender shall be included as part of the record in the completed Guideline Sentence Form.