Minimum Maximum Rule
If you have been convicted of a criminal offense you are no doubt hopeful that you can draw the least harsh punishment that is possible. However for some offenses, trial judges are required to sentence you to a mandatory minimum sentence and you will have to serve the jail time set down by the law.
Your judge is also constrained from sentencing you to more time in prison or fines then are specified by law covering your offense.
What Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Means
In Pennsylvania, if an offense carries a mandatory minimum sentence it means that a judge can’t be lenient. He or she must sentence you to the number of years in prison specified by the law and no fewer, even if there are mitigating factors.
The offenses that fall under mandatory minimum sentences cover a broad range. Frequently they are drug-related, sex-related, firearms-related and violent crimes. However one of Philadelphia’s most common offenses is also subject to it.
Many people find themselves caught by mandatory minimum sentencing when they are charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Even a first time offender who has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 to .16, (depending on your weight that can be just two drinks) faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 48 hours in jail.
A judge can’t sentence you to a punishment that exceeds the offense’s maximum penalty as specified in the law governing it. For example, if you are convicted of kidnapping, a felony of the first degree, and it is your first offense, it is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. A judge is not allowed to sentence you to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
How A Lawyer Can Help
Your lawyer can fully explain your charges and prepare an effective defense. They will work with you to determine your best course of action.
Pennsylvania Offense Classes and Gravity Scores
Offense classes and gravity scores are defined under The Pennsylvania Criminal Code under Title 204, Chapter 303. Read the code here.
Questions? Contact us today.
If you are charged with a criminal offense, you face tough punishment dealt out by the Pennsylvania courts. Fienman Defense has the skills and experience to help you avoid the harshest penalties.