5 Steps to Calculating the Federal Criminal History Category | San Diego Federal Attorney

The video only provides the general guide to calculating the criminal history category in the federal system. If you charged with a federal crime, it is important to hire an attorney who regularly practices in federal court. There are many nuances that need to be accounted for when calculating the guideline range to get the most favorable outcome in your case (that is of course if you do not take the case to trial).

Aside from reading the actual guidelines, the 2016 Federal Sentencing Primer on Criminal History provides a good overview of the calculation. The primer can be found here: https://www.ussc.gov/sites/default/files/pdf/training/primers/2016_Primer_Criminal_History.pdf

At the outset, and excluding staleness concerns, the calculation of the criminal history category starts with computing how many points each prior conviction carries. Section 4A1.1 (Criminal History Category) provides as follows:

(a) Add 3 points for each prior sentence of imprisonment exceeding one year and one month.

(b) Add 2 points for each prior sentence of imprisonment of at least sixty days not counted in (a).

(c) Add 1 point for each prior sentence not counted in (a) or (b), up to a total of 4 points for this subsection.

(d) Add 2 points if the defendant committed the instant offense while under any criminal justice sentence, including probation, parole, supervised release, imprisonment, work release, or escape status.

(e) Add 1 point for each prior sentence resulting from a conviction of a crime of violence that did not receive any points under (a), (b), or (c) above because such sentence was counted as a single sentence, up to a total of 3 points for this subsection.

“Prior Sentence”. Under Section 4A1.2(a), a “prior sentence” is “any sentence previously imposed upon adjudication of guilt, whether by guilty plea, trial, or plea of nolo contendere, for conduct not part of the instant offense.”

Whether a prior conviction is scored for the
criminal history computation depends on a number of factors — the age of the prior conviction, the date of imposition of the sentence, the length of the prior sentence, and any sentence imposed upon revocation of the prior sentence — and whether the prior convictions were for offenses committed before the age of 18.

Anton Vialtsin, Esq.
LAWSTACHE™ LAW FIRM | Criminal Defense and Business Law

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