If a person is convicted of a crime, the court that imposes a sentence must consider the overriding purposes of sentencing. The overriding purposes of felony sentencing are to protect the public from future crime by the offender and others as well as to punish the offender. In achieving this goal, the court must consider the need for incapacitating the offender, deterring the offender and others from future crime, rehabilitating the offender, and making restitution to the victim of the offense. The sentence imposed needs to be commensurate with and not demeaning to the seriousness of the offender's conduct and its impact upon the victim, and consistent with sentences imposed for similar crimes committed by similar offenders.
When fashioning a sentence, the court shall consider and balance all of the following:
1) Is this crime more serious because of any of the following:
- The injury suffered by the victim of the offense was exacerbated because of the physical or mental condition or age of the victim.
- The victim of the offense suffered serious physical, psychological, or economic harm.
- The offender held a public office or position of trust in the community, and the offense related to that office or position.
- The offender's occupation, elected office, or profession obliged the offender to prevent the offense or bring others committing it to justice.
- The offender's professional reputation or occupation, elected office, or profession was used to facilitate the offense or is likely to influence the future conduct of others.
- The offender's relationship with the victim facilitated the offense.
- The offender committed the offense for hire or as a part of an organized criminal activity.
- The offender was motivated by prejudice based on race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, or religion.
- The offender committed the offense in the vicinity of one or more children.
2) Is this crime less serious because of any of the following:
- The victim induced and facilitated the offense.
- The offender acted under strong provocation.
- The offender did not cause or expect to cause physical harm to any person or property.
- There are substantial grounds to mitigate the offender's conduct, although the grounds are not enough to constitute a defense.
3) Is the offender is more likely to commit future crimes because of any of the following:
- The offender under release from confinement before trial or sentencing, or under post-release control for an earlier offense or had been unfavorably terminated from post-release control for a prior offense.
- The offender previously was adjudicated a delinquent child or the offender has a history of criminal convictions.
- The offender has not been rehabilitated to a satisfactory degree after previously being adjudicated a delinquent child or the offender has not responded favorably to sanctions previously imposed for criminal convictions.
- The offender has demonstrated a pattern of drug or alcohol abuse that is related to the offense, and the offender refuses to acknowledge that the offender has demonstrated that pattern, or the offender refuses treatment for the drug or alcohol abuse.
- The offender shows no genuine remorse for the offense.
4) Is the offender less likely to commit future crimes because of any of the following:
- The offender had not been adjudicated a delinquent child.
- The offender has not previously been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a criminal offense.
- The offender had led a law-abiding life for a significant number of years.
- The offense was committed under circumstances not likely to recur.
- The offender shows genuine remorse for the offense.
The forgoing factors are considered in every felony case. However, some crimes have mandatory periods of incarceration that must be followed regardless of the above factors. Further, courts are limited in the time of incarceration that can be imposed by the degree of the charge(s). For instance the time of possible incarceration and fine for each degree of crime is as follows:
First Degree Felony (F-1): 3-11 years of prison and up to a $20,000 fine.
Second Degee Felony (F-2): 2-8 years of prison and up to a $15,000 fine.
Third Degree Felony (F-3): 1-5 years of prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Fourth Degree Felony (F-4): Up to 18 months of prison and up to a $5,000 fine.
Fifth Degree Felony (F-5): Up to 12 months of prison and up to a $2,500 fine.
First Degree Misdemeanor (M-1): Up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
Second Degree Misdemeanor (M-2): Up to 90 days in jail and up to a $750 fine.
Third Degree Misdemeanor (M-3): Up to 60 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.
Fourth Degree Misdemeanor (M-4): Up to 30 days in jail and up to a $250 fine.
Minor Misdemeanor (mm): Up to a $150 fine.