Basics for determining guideline sentences in Pennsylvania

by | Mar 27, 2014 | Trials & Hearings

In Pennsylvania, anytime a person is accused of committing a crime that person must be aware of their possible exposure for incarceration.  An experienced attorney should know his client’s possible exposure for jail time.  For each grading of a crime (felony, misdemeanor, summary), Pennsylvania law sets the maximum time for which a person guilty of that crime can be incarcerated.  However, within that maximum sentence are what is known as a “guideline sentence.”

A guideline sentence is set by statute and is based on the “offense gravity score” O.G.S (or how serious the legislature deems commission of that crime) and a person’s “Prior Record Score” P.R.S. (essentially how many convictions a person has).  Again, according to statute, the OGS and P.R.S. will be assigned a point value based on the specific facts of a person’s case.  You then use those points and go to the “Basic Sentencing Matrix” and find the intersection of the OGS number and PRS number on the graph.  That intersection will tell you what a person’s guideline sentence.

In addition to the guideline sentence, the attorney must account for the aggravating/mitigating range for the sentence, which will be indicated in the last column on the basic sentencing matrix with a (+/-) before the number of months.  Also, an attorney must determine whether any sentencing enhancements apply to the specific case (school zone, deadly weapon, etc.)

Once all of that analysis is completed, a client can be made aware of any possible jail exposure for the crime of which he is accused of committing.

If you or your loved one has been charged with the commission of a crime, please contact the experienced and aggressive attorneys at the Kelly Law Firm. 

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