The Basics of Pennsylvania Sentencing Laws
If you are going to court in the state of Pennsylvania any time soon, it can be beneficial to brush up on a few aspects of the law. There are numerous nuances to Pennsylvania sentencing law, but here are the basics to get familiar with.
Discretion of the Judge
Ultimately, the judge is responsible for handing down the sentence in most trials. The punishments can vary depending on the severity of the crime and whether this was the person’s first offense. Certain sentences that can be handed down include:
- Jail time
- Electronic home monitoring
- Community service
- Involvement in an alcohol or drug treatment program
Certain crimes offer no flexibility. If someone is found guilty of selling drugs in the vicinity of a school, then that person has to be sentenced to two years in jail. It would be against the law for the judge to sentence the criminal to anything less than two years in this case.
Pennsylvania sentencing law contains something known as the min/max rule. This means that if an individual is found guilty of a crime, then the minimum sentence length cannot be longer than half of the maximum length. For example, it would be legal for a judge to sentence a person to 12 to 24 months of incarceration. In this case, the individual would be eligible for parole at the one year mark. However, an illegal sentence would be if the judge sentenced that same individual to 18 to 24 months of incarceration. Since 18 is more than half of 24, this could not be done.
There are many more laws regarding sentencing in Pennsylvania. It really all comes down to a case-by-case basis. Other factors include whether you get a concurrent or consecutive sentence and additional mitigating factors. There are plenty of fine details in Pennsylvania sentencing law, so brush up on your knowledge.
Applebaum & Associates Can Help With Your Sentencing
Even if you are arrested and charged, there is still hope. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania, like Michael Applebaum, can help you aggressively combat charges, and many will provide a free initial consultation. Investing in your own legal representation may help you avoid thousands of dollars in fines, as well as possible felony convictions and state prison time, depending on the severity of the charge.