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What determines criminal sentencing in Kansas?

People who are being charged with criminal actions in Kansas will be subjected to sentencing guidelines if they are found guilty of those criminal acts. Kansas utilizes sentencing grids to determine the sentence a person should receive if he or she is convicted of certain crimes, but not all crimes are included on the sentencing grids. Understanding basic points about these grids might help you understand sentencing if you are facing criminal charges.

Are all crimes covered on sentencing grids?

No, not all crimes are covered on sentencing grids. Crimes that have sentences determined by other laws aren't included. Capital murder is an example of a crime not included on the grids. Some crimes, such as drunk driving, that have jail incarceration instead of prison incarceration, aren't usually included on the sentencing grids.

What factors affect the sentencing grid guidelines?

A defendant's past criminal history and the severity of the current criminal act are considered. Criminal history can include no criminal record, misdemeanor convictions, non-person crime convictions and person crime convictions. Theft is a non-person crime and rape is a person crime. Non-person crimes aren't considered as serious as person crimes on the sentencing grid.

What sentences are included on the grid?

Each sentence grid box has three numbers. The middle number is the number of months that it is presumed the defendant would get if he or she is convicted. A lower number is the shortest sentence a person could receive without the sentence being considered a deviation from the normal sentencing guidelines. The higher number is the maximum sentence that a judge could impose without it being considered a deviation.

Are all sentences listed for incarceration?

The sentencing grid is color coded. The different colors have to do with what type of sentence is suitable. All colors can be incarceration periods. Orange and yellow mean that alternative sentences, such as probation are possible. Purple means that incarceration is preferred but alternative sentencing is possible. Blue means incarceration is expected.

When you are facing a criminal charge, keeping the sentence you face to a minimum is important. Looking at the sentencing grid might help you to learn about what would be the minimum for your case.

Source: Sedgwick County, "Sentencing Guidelines," accessed Sep. 07, 2016

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