Locating the appropriate grid cell on the sentencing guidelines grid.
The appropriate sentencing guidelines range for the offense/offender may be determined by identifying that grid cell which represents the intersection of the offense seriousness level of the governing offense (vertical axis) and the classification of the criminal history (horizontal axis).
Intermediate Sanction Zone
For the least serious crimes, the sentencing guidelines grid contains a zone where only intermediate sanctions are within the guidelines (green zone). To impose a sentence of incarceration upon a defendant whose crime and criminal record fall within the intermediate sanction zone, a judge must depart from the guidelines.
The middle zone (yellow zone) on the sentencing guidelines grid is discretionary; either incarceration or an intermediate sanctions is within the guidelines
For the more serious crimes, (red zone), intermediate sanctions are not within the applicable guideline ranges. In order to impose an intermediate sanction, the sentencing judge must depart from the guidelines in these cells.
The sentencing guidelines range contained in the grid cell represents the range from which the maximum, or Not More Than (NMT), sentence is selected.
Illustration 4: A defendant is convicted of Unarmed Robbery, a level 5 offense. Based on the defendant’s prior record of convictions, the defendant’s criminal history category is determined to be category C or Serious Record. The grid cell which represents the intersection of level 5 and category C has a range of 36 to 54 months. If the judge chooses to sentence within the sentencing guidelines range, the judge may impose a Not More Than sentence as low as 36 months, as high as 54 months, or any length in between. The Not Less Than (NLT) sentence will automatically be set at two-thirds the NMT sentence.
Illustration 5: A defendant is convicted of Disorderly Conduct, a level 1 offense. Based on the defendant’s prior record of convictions, the defendant’s criminal history category is determined to be category D or Violent or Repetitive. The grid cell which represents the intersection of level 1 and category D has a range of 0 to 3 months. If the judge chooses to sentence within the sentencing guidelines range, the judge may impose a Not More Than sentence up to and including 3 months. The Not Less Than (NLT) sentence will automatically be set at two-thirds the NMT sentence. In the alternative the judge may sentence the defendant to no jail time, but instead to an intermediate sanction in levels IS-I to IS IV.
No sentence selected by a judge shall exceed the statutory maximum penalty allowed by law.
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