This page, Sentencing Guidelines: Step 5, Chapter 5, is offered by

Sentencing Guidelines: Step 5, Chapter 5

Locate the Appropriate Grid Cell/Sentencing Grid

Table of Contents

Locate the Appropriate Grid Cell/Sentencing Grid

The appropriate sentencing guidelines range for the offense/offender is determined by identifying the 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).

No Active Supervision Zone

Cells in this zone carry no incarceration, probation, supervision, fees or fines.

Intermediate Sanction Zone

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.

Discretionary Zone

The middle (yellow) zone on the sentencing guidelines grid provides a broad range of dispositional alternatives. Both incarceration and intermediate sanctions are within the applicable guidelines.

Incarceration Zone

The ultimately determined sentencing guideline range represents the range from which the judge selects the maximum term, and the minimum term is set at two- thirds of the maximum or Not More Than sentence. The sentencing judge and counsel should take into consideration that current research suggests that the minimum term calculated at 2/3 of the maximum term may result in a parole term which is longer than necessary.

For 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.

Illustration 4:

A defendant is convicted of Unarmed Robbery, a level 4 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 4 and category C has a range of 6 to 30 months. If the judge chooses to sentence within the sentencing guidelines range, the judge may impose a Not More Than sentence as low as 6 months, as high as 30 months, or any length in between. The Not Less Than 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 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.

No sentence selected by a judge shall exceed the statutory maximum penalty allowed by law.

Additional Resources

Contact

Address

John Adams Courthouse
One Pemberton Square - G300
Boston, MA 02108
Date published: April 26, 2019
Feedback