Maryland Sentencing Guidelines & You | Jimeno & Gray, P.A.
Find Out What the Maryland Guidelines Are for Sentencing Criminal Defendants
The Maryland Sentencing Guidelines are a set of guidelines that are supposed to help judges across Maryland be uniform in their sentencing criminal defendants. The idea behind them is that a judge in the lower Eastern Shore should not be dramatically different from a judge in far Western Maryland. They are established for the Circuit Court Judges, not the District Court Judges. A prayer for a jury trial from District Court is not included in the Guidelines.
The Maryland Sentencing Guidelines are not mandatory, they are advisory. This means that judges are not bound to follow them without deviation. They are not rules, just guides.
Maryland uses a point system to weigh different factors in each case. Different crimes are given different weight, like a first degree assault being scored higher than a second degree assault. The background of the defendant is given weight, even their juvenile record if the defendant is still young. And, in crimes of violence, other circumstances such whether a gun was used or the extent of a victim’s injuries play into the range a crime is given.
Different situations call for different results, and that is why the Judges are only given advisory guidelines. They are supposed to listen to the evidence presented to them to balance the punishment they feel a crime deserves from the help a defendant may need in the future.
The sentencing guidelines are an important piece of the process, but not the only part of a sentencing that determines what happens to a criminal defendant.