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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sentencing Guideline Overview (felony)

Is it possible to get a sentence of 18 months for the crime of armed robbery in DC?
In order to determine a "range" for a specific crime, you need to look at the sentencing guidelines. You can find them online for the District of Columbia at You need to know both the offense being charged, and any enhancements or aggravating elements that could make the crime more serious. The most common form of enhancement is prior offenses.

Like many jurisdictions, DC works on a point system. For example, prior convictions for serious crimes carries a "+ point score" of +3. Misdemeanors are +1. Generally, any conviction AND sentence within 10 years will add points to the score table. In Federal Court, sentence categories are much more varied, but the point score follows the same concept.

Armed robbery itself falls on master group 5 with a range from 36 months to 120 months. Although these are suggestive (voluntary) guidelines, the Court will almost always follow them. Of course, enhancements or aggravating factors will make this much higher.

To deviate from this, you need an excellent and compelling reason. We can help with this, however, downward departure is a tough sell without a compelling cause (illness, cooperation, or single parent with children are examples). Generally, we seek mitigating circumstances that lessen the sentence and keep any time to the lower quartile (25%) of the guidelines. In sentencing hearings, maintaining the lower quartile is a success.

Do you need help with sentencing on a serious felony matter? Contact us at 1-800-579-9864 or

Hanover Law, PC
Offices in Fairfax, VA and Washington, DC Lili O'connell, Esq.
Abby Archer, Esq.
888 16th St., NW Ste 800
Washington, DC 20006
2751 Prosperity Ave, Ste 150
Fairfax, VA 22031
Sean R. Hanover, Esq.
Stephen Salwierak, Esq.
1-800-579-9864 Charles Hatley, Esq.

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