What are the federal sentencing guidelines?Return to FAQs
Sentencing guidelines are a set of rules that the court uses to evaluate what a sentence should be in a particular federal case. It used to be mandatory, and then recently, the Supreme Court ruled that the court should use the sentencing guidelines to determine what a sentence should be, but it should not be mandatory. In other words, you should consider other considerations, and specifically, personal considerations, the education, age, socioeconomic background of a defendant, in fashioning an appropriate sentence, more individualized things of that nature. Federal sentencing guidelines are still considered by the court, but they are not longer mandatory.