§ 2154.  Adoption of guidelines for sentencing.

(a)  General rule.--The commission shall adopt guidelines for sentencing within the limits established by law which shall be considered by the sentencing court in determining the appropriate sentence for defendants who plead guilty or nolo contendere to, or who were found guilty of, felonies and misdemeanors. In adopting guidelines, the commission shall recommend confinement that is consistent with the protection of the public, the gravity of the offense as it relates to the impact on the life of the victim and the community and the rehabilitative needs of the offender.

(b)  Factors.--The guidelines shall address the following retributive factors:

(1)  Seriousness of the offense, by specifying the range of sentences applicable to crimes of a given degree of gravity.

(2)  Criminal history, by specifying a range of sentences of increased severity or intensity of intervention for offenders previously convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for one or more misdemeanor or felony offenses committed prior to the current offense. The commission may exclude or reduce the valuation of less serious offenses and increase the valuation of offenses committed while under supervision or in a temporal or offense pattern.

(3)  Criminal behavior, by specifying a range of sentences of increased severity or intensity of intervention for offenders with increased culpability, including those who possessed or used a deadly weapon or inflicted substantial harm during the commission of the current conviction offense.

(4)  Aggravated and mitigated ranges, by specifying variations from the range of sentences applicable on account of aggravating or mitigating circumstances.

(5)  The impact of any amendments to section 9756 (relating to sentence of total confinement).

(c)  Adjustments.--The guidelines shall include the following risk-related adjustments:

(1)  Incapacitation of serious violent offenders.

(2)  Modifications to criminal history to reflect risk to reoffend and substantial risk to public safety to adjust the length of total confinement for more serious criminal history.

(d)  Probation guidelines.--The guidelines shall address the use of county intermediate punishment programs as restrictive conditions of probation and the duration of terms of probation.

(e)  Interactive information.--The guidelines shall include interactive information to support decisions with risk and recidivism information.

(f)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"Possessed."  On a defendant's person or within the defendant's immediate physical control.

"Previously convicted of or adjudicated delinquent."  Any finding of guilt or adjudication of delinquency, whether or not sentence has been imposed or disposition ordered prior to the commission of the current offense.


(Dec. 11, 1986, P.L.1521, No.165, eff. 60 days; Sept. 25, 2008, P.L.1026, No.81, eff. 60 days; Oct. 27, 2010, P.L.931, No.95, eff. imd.; Dec. 18, 2019, P.L.776, No.115, eff. 60 days)


Initial Sentencing Guidelines.  Section 218(b) of Act 142 of 1980 provided that the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing shall adopt and publish in the Pennsylvania Bulletin pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 2155(a)(2) the initial sentencing guidelines within 18 months of the first meeting of the commission. The provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. § 1386 (redesignated by Act 142 as 42 Pa.C.S. § 9781) shall take effect upon the effective date of such initial sentencing guidelines pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 2155(c). The initial sentencing guidelines, as revised, were adopted January 5, 1982, and became effective July 22, 1982.

Cross References.  Section 2154 is referred to in sections 2153, 2154.7, 9711.1, 9720.4, 9720.5, 9720.7, 9720.8, 9721, 9754, 9763 of this title; sections 2505, 3024, 3133, 3502, 3503, 3702, 6105 of Title 18 (Crimes and Offenses); sections 3732, 3732.1, 3804 of Title 75 (Vehicles).