Crimes are classified as misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, or felonies. The classification of a crime generally determines the maximum term of confinement. When a person is convicted of a felony, the Sentencing Reform Act applies. The Sentencing Reform Act is a determinate sentencing system in which a judge selects a particular sentence from a standard range. The standard range is determined by reference to a statutory grid, which is based on the person's criminal history (converted into an offender score) and the severity of the offense (according to designated seriousness levels). Seriousness levels range from I to XVI, and offender scores can range from zero to nine or more points. A higher seriousness level or offender score results in a longer sentence. While the grid provides the base sentence, additional sentencing policies can increase or decrease a sentence. This includes, for example, enhancements, exceptional sentences, and alternative sentences.
Statutory sentencing enhancements add a specified amount of confinement time to a person's base sentence.
Involving a Minor in a Criminal Street Gang-Related Felony. The standard sentence range must be multiplied by 125 percent for any offense in which the person was over the age of 18 at the time of the offense and the offense was a criminal street gang-related felony for which the person compensated, threatened, or solicited a minor in order to involve the minor in the offense.
A criminal street gang-related offense is an offense committed: for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with any criminal street gang; with the intent to promote, further, or assist criminal conduct of the gang; or for other specified reasons such as gaining admission or promotion within the gang, increasing the gang's size or dominance, exacting revenge for the gang, intimidating or eliminating witnesses against the gang, or providing some other benefit to the gang.
Firearms and Deadly Weapons. A period of additional confinement time must be added to the standard sentence range any time the person or an accomplice was armed with a firearm or a deadly weapon at the time of the offense. The additional time applied varies according to the classification of the underlying offense and the weapon involved.
When the person or an accomplice was armed with a firearm at the time of the offense, the court must impose:
When the person or an accomplice was armed with deadly weapon other than a firearm at the time of the offense, the court must impose:
With respect to both firearm and deadly weapon enhancements, if the person has been previously sentenced for a firearm or deadly weapon enhancement, the additional time must be doubled.
Impaired Driving. A two-year enhancement is added to the standard sentence range for Vehicular Homicide committed under the influence of alcohol or any drug (Vehicular Homicide-DUI) for each prior impaired driving related offense. A 12-month enhancement is added to the standard sentence for Vehicular Homicide-DUI, Vehicular Assault-DUI, felony Driving Under the Influence, or felony Actual Physical Control of a Vehicle While Under the Influence for each passenger under the age of 16 in the defendant's vehicle at the time of the offense.
Sexual Motivation. A period of additional confinement time must be added to the standard sentence range any time an offense was committed with sexual motivation, which means that one of the purposes for which the person committed the crime was for sexual gratification. The additional time applied varies according to the classification of the underlying offense. The court must add:
If the person has been previously sentenced for sexual motivation enhancement, the additional time must be doubled.
Controlled Substances Violations in Protected Zones. An additional 24 months must be added to the standard sentence range for any offense involving certain controlled substances violations committed in a protected zone, including manufacture, sale, or delivery of a controlled substance and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver a controlled substance. Protected zones include: schools and school buses; the area within 1,000 feet of a school bus route or school grounds; public parks; any public housing project designated as a drug-free zone; public transit vehicles and stop shelters; civic centers; and the area within 1,000 feet of a civic center if designated by the local governing authority.
Stacking of Sentencing Enhancements.
Generally, sentences for multiple offenses set at one sentencing hearing are served concurrently. However, there are some exceptions that allow sentences, or portions of sentences, to be served consecutively. This policy is sometimes referred to as "stacking." Certain enhancements must be served consecutively to both the base sentence as well as all other sentencing provisions, including other enhancements of the same type, including firearm and deadly weapon enhancements, impaired driving enhancements, and sexual motivation enhancements. The stacking of these enhancements is mandatory.
In certain situations, a portion of a term of total confinement may be converted to partial confinement. Partial confinement is confinement for up to one year in a facility operated or contracted by the state or other unit of government, or in an approved residence, for a substantial portion of each day with the balance of the day spent in the community. Partial confinement may include work release, home detention, work crew, or electronic monitoring. During the period of partial confinement, a person may be required to comply with crime-related prohibitions and affirmative conditions imposed by the court or the Department of Corrections. If the person violates the rules of the partial confinement program, the person may be required to serve the remainder of the term in total confinement.
Portions of a person's sentence attributed to certain sentencing enhancements, including firearm and weapons enhancements, impaired driving enhancements, and sexual motivation enhancements, must be served in total confinement and are not eligible for partial confinement.
A person's felony sentence may be reduced by "earned release time," which is earned through good behavior and good performance, as determined by the correctional agency that has jurisdiction over the person. The total percentage of the sentence that may be reduced by earned release time depends on various factors, including the underlying offense and the date of conviction. A person may not receive any earned release time for the portion of the sentence that results from certain enhancements specified in statute, including the firearm and deadly weapon enhancement, the impaired driving enhancement, and the sexual motivation enhancement.
Elimination of Sentencing Enhancements.
The sentencing enhancements are eliminated for involving a minor in a criminal street gang-related felony, and for controlled substances violations committed in protected zones.
Removal of Mandatory Stacking for Enhancements.
Mandatory stacking of firearms and deadly weapons enhancements is eliminated. Instead, the court may, but is not required to, order that these enhancements are served consecutively.
Allowing Partial Confinement and Earned Release on Enhancements.
Sentencing enhancements are eligible for partial confinement and earned release, including firearm and deadly weapons enhancements, impaired driving enhancements, and sexual motivation enhancements. However, if a person has three or more alcohol and drug violations, all impaired driving enhancements must be served in total confinement.