If you are accused of a federal crime in Ohio, you can expect certain things. One of them will be to have the severity of your crime judged by a very strict series of guidelines. These have been put in place to streamline the process of sentencing. They will determine the nature of your penalty if you are convicted.
Each federal crime is assigned a base level
The first thing that you will need to know when you are preparing your criminal defense strategy is that federal crime is graded on a very specific scale. Each crime that is judged to be within the federal domain is assigned a base level. There are 43 of them in all. The more serious your crime is judged, the higher the level assigned will be.
Each crime begins with a base offense level. A trespass that resulted in no actual violence may start at 4. On the other hand, the level for kidnapping begins at 32. Each type of offense covered by the scale contains a number of special characteristics. These can also help to lower or raise the base level.
The severity of your charge can be adjusted
You should also be aware that the severity of the charges you are facing can also be adjusted using the guiding system of base levels. If you are charged with a crime that involves possession of a weapon, you can naturally expect to start out with a high base level.
If you were present during the commission of a crime but took only a minimal part in the proceedings, your base level may be dropped by several points. But the more active a role you can be proven to have taken, the higher your base level will be.
Should you be charged with multiple counts, the base levels of all of the different charges can be joined together. This will result in your “combined offense level.” The most serious offense will be taken as the point to start at. The other counts will determine how much to increase your level.