Standard Presumptive Sentencing

sentencing, law - balancing scales in the empty courtroom

Standard Presumptive Sentencing

When encountering the legal system, there can be so much legal speak that happens where you may not have any idea what someone is talking about. With the different terms used, one that may stand out is standard presumptive sentencing. It is a mouth full, but what does it actually mean? Coolidge Law, serving Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale and Chandler, is here to help you gain understanding of what this means and how it will affect you.

Standard Presumptive Sentencing

The punishment for crimes is based upon the severity of the crime committed. This means that there is a standard punishment set for specific types of crimes. The sentences are presumed to be according to the severity of the crime and the type of crime that has been committed. Therefore, with standard presumptive sentencing, it is the predetermined punishment set out by the courts for the type of crime committed. The courts are ensuring the punishment fits the crime committed.

Is There Leeway to the Sentencing?

Most of the time, the presumptive sentencing is what is given, but there are a couple circumstances around this. There are times that the judge can lessen the charge of the presumptive sentencing that’s been set in place, when there are mitigating circumstances. This could be beneficial to the defendant who is able to accept a lesser sentencing than what is generally set. On the other hand, the judge also has the ability to order an upward departure from the presumptive sentencing due to aggravating circumstances surrounding the crime. This would then increase the sentence for the defendant based on the crime committed. As the downward departure and upward departure from the presumptive sentencing are possibilities, the standard presumptive sentencing is usually what stands in place.

How Did Standard Presumptive Sentencing Start?

In an attempt to combat massive crime waves occurring, the standard presumptive sentencing was put into place. The war on drugs in the 1980s catapulted the legal system into addressing  the immense crimes being committed and actions being put into place such as the standard presumptive sentencing or the mandatory minimum sentences. The goal was to reduce crime rates overall.

Whether you have encountered the mandatory minimum sentences or have just heard of them, they are the punishment for crimes based on the crime severity.  


When it comes to Arizona laws, it is best to have someone on your side who knows them in and out. Coolidge Law can help you gain insight in ways to address this process and the crime to punishment ratio. Contact us today!


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (7/14/2017) John Stevens (Flickr)

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