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Sentencing Issues: Your Prior Record Score


Your past may come back to haunt you. And this is never more true than in sentencing for criminal offenses. I see articles all the time decrying a miscarriage of justice where one person gets a significantly lighter sentence for committing the exact same crime as someone else. What these articles fail to mention is the prior criminal record of each individual, which is a major factor driving lengthy criminal sentences!

The standard range sentence for a criminal offense is based on a combination of the seriousness of the offense (the Offense Gravity Score), and the defendant’s record (Prior Record Score). In Pennsylvania, your prior record score can be any one of the following categories: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Repeat Felon Offender (RFEL) and Repeat Violent Offender (REVOC). The higher the prior record score, the more severe the penalty you will face at your sentencing. Someone with a 0 prior record score will often be eligible for probationary sentences or alternative programs such as ARD, while those towards the higher end may be looking at state prison sentences depending on the severity of the offense.

RFEL and REVOC are the most severe prior records and offenders with those records are likely to be facing serious sentences of incarceration. The RFEL category is for people who have been convicted of two prior Felony 1 or Felony 2 offenses such as burglary, aggravated assault, robbery, and other serious offenses. The REVOC category is for offenders who have two or more four point offenses and whose current offense has an Offense Gravity Score of 9 or more. These are people who are currently accused of very serious crime and have a history of such.

To calculate a prior record score, points are assigned for past convictions. Summary offenses receive 0 points, so those with magistrate convictions and traffic citations can breathe a sigh of relief. Most misdemeanors receive a half point. Felonies can be assigned 1, 2, 3, or 4 prior record points depending on the severity of the offense. This is just the basics as there are many rules and exceptions to be considered when calculating a prior record score.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, and have a less than perfect criminal history, you may be in the dark about the possible ramifications that you may be facing. Attorney Frank Walker is here to help. Attorney Walker has years of experience helping both new and repeat offenders with their criminal cases. With Attorney Walker at your side you can forge a strong criminal case and get the charges dismissed, or the consequences significantly reduced. With offices in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Morgantown, West Virginia Walker Law is conveniently located to serve you. Call us now at (412) 212-3878 for the Pittsburgh Office, and (304) 712-2089 for our office in Morgantown.