New York State's sentencing guidelines are not merely intimidating in their scope, but confusing to those who lack the experience to understand them. Before being able to understand how the sentencing guidelines will impact you or a loved one, certain questions must be answered first.
The first and most obvious question is whether the offense you have pleaded to or have been convicted of is a felony, misdemeanor, or violation. The next question is whether or not you have a prior record. While a prior record will likely impact your sentencing, if you have a prior felony conviction within the previous ten years leading up to your current offense, then as a matter of law your sentence will be more severe. This increased punishment applies to individuals who have been convicted of a felony in the previous ten years and their "new" or current crime is a felony as well. People who fall within this more severe punishment guideline due to their prior felony within the past ten years are called "Predicate Felons." It is important to note, however, that the ten years mentioned above may in fact be greater then ten years due to legal issues such as whether or not the person was in custody during that ten year time period. Moreover, depending on your criminal history and whether the current offense is designated as a violent offense, you might face even greater punishment.
In addition to being designated a "Predicate Felon" or a "Violent Predicate Felon" as discussed above, a person may also be a "Mandatory Persistent" or "Discretionary Persistent" felony offender. Like being a "Predicate Felon," this legal designation will increase your potential sentence as a matter of law.
The basics behind us, the following links set forth sentencing guidelines as to: