How is a federal sentence calculated? Do they add the offense level and criminal history points together to get offense level?

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How is a federal sentence calculated? Do they add the offense level and criminal history points together to get offense level?

I have a friend who was convicted of felony possession of a firearm. That is the only offense for that charge. Under federal sentencing it is a 922 (g)(1) charge. He was a convicted felon with a handgun in the trunk of his car when he was pulled over for running a stop sign, the car was searched and the gun was found and he was charged. He does have a criminal history past, nothing violent, mainly **** offenses and duis, but not sure exactly what. He was given an offense level of 23 for the charge and a criminal history level of VI, for 13 offensive points and therefore sentenced to 92mnths fed time. This seems extremely drastic for someone who didn’t do anything violent or ever had an intent to. Is that correct or is there an errror made in a calculation somewhere?This seems so very harsh

Asked on May 22, 2009 under Criminal Law, Colorado

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Without all the details of your friend's criminal history, there is no way that I can comment on this.  The federal sentencing guidelines are very complex, and his attorney should have worked through the process himself before the sentencing;  if a mistake was made, his attorney has to be the one to identify it and make a motion to modify the sentence.

As a general rule, firearms plus a history of drug offenses makes a defendant look like a very bad person, since this combination is typical of serious drug dealers.


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