Legal Updates

Using the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines to Assess Your Case

In Pennsylvania, Defendants are sentenced based on the severity of the crime and their prior criminal record. If you are facing a serious offense and have an extensive prior record the DA will be asking for a substantial jail sentence. If the offense is less serious or you have not been previously convicted, the likelihood of lengthy incarceration is substantially reduced.

Seasoned Philadelphia Criminal Lawyers use the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines to assess the potential sentence you are facing if convicted. The Guidelines assign a number (“Offense Gravity Score or OGS”) to the alleged crime. Another number is assigned to your prior record (“Prior Record Score or PRS”). A sliding scale is then used to establish guidelines for the case. The guidelines can range from restorative sanctions or probation to a state sentence.

If your OGS and PRS are both high, there is a likelihood you will be incarcerated if convicted. Therefore, it is critical you speak with a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney to ascertain what the recommended sentence is in the event you plea or are convicted. If you have a lower OGS and PRS there may be little at stake in the event you choose to fight your case. A judge is unlikely to deviate substantially from the guidelines if the recommended sentence is probation and/or a county sentence.

At the Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos we utilize the Pennsylvania Sentencing Guidelines to assess whether a case should be litigated or settled. While it is not the only factor, it is important to understand the consequences of your actions. By looking at the guidelines the defendant has a clear idea of the risk/reward ratio in trying a case. Often times the guidelines favor trying the case where no reasonable offer has been made.

If you are facing serious criminal charges in the Philadelphia area, contact the Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos. We work tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected. If the Guidelines and other indicators support litigation, we will zealously fight your case before a judge or jury. Call now for a free consultation: 267-535-9776.