Alabama Sentencing Guidelines – Presumption of Correctness Coming For Some Offenses

Soon Sentences Under Alabama Sentencing Guidelines To Be Presumed Correct For Non-Violent Cases

The Alabama Legislature has instructed the Alabama Sentencing Commission to implement a plan to make the Alabama Sentencing Guidelines presumptively correct in most non-violent cases.  During the 2012 Regular Session, the Alabama Legislature passed a law that directs the Alabama Sentencing Commission to make the necessary changes to the Alabama Sentencing Guidelines to make the guidelines presumptive as to sentences in non-violent offenses effective October 1, 2013.

The Alabama’s Sentencing Guidelines consist of worksheets, instructions, and sentence length tables. The Sentencing Guidelines were initially adopted as voluntary sentencing recommendations for Alabama’s most frequently sentenced offenses. However, the Alabama Legislature has changed the Standards for non-violent offenses as defined by the Alabama Criminal Code from voluntary to presumptive recommendations. The new law also directed the Alabama Sentencing Commission to make modifications as necessary to effect this change, including defining aggravating and mitigating circumstances that are required for sentencing departures by the judge that are above or below the sentence recommended under the Alabama Sentencing Guidelines. Additionally, the Sentencing Commission will make modifications to the Alabama Sentencing Guidelines including defining a list of aggravating and mitigating factors. The Commission also added some non-violent offenses to the Alabama Sentencing Guidelines and made some of the sentencing length ranges higher to account for the newly added offenses.

For Alabama criminal defense lawyers, the change taking effect on October 1, 2013 will present a number of challenges, including advocating for clients to obtain departures downward from the recommended sentence and appealing sentences to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals and the Alabama Supreme Court in an effort to help better define the substance of the law and the appropriate procedure regarding sentencing under the Alabama Sentencing Guidelines.

Bradford Ladner, LLP‘s focus on criminal defense and criminal appeals will allow us to aggressively represent our clients in relation to the new presumptive sentencing guidelines in an effort to obtain the best possible outcome for our clients.



Bradford Ladner, LLP. is an Alabama based law firm with offices in Clanton and Mobile, practicing Federal Criminal Defense, Alabama State Criminal Defense, Federal Criminal Appeals, State Criminal and Civil Appeals, Divorce and Child Custody Matters, and Alabama Civil Litigation. We practice in all Alabama Courts Statewide and in Federal Court Nationwide
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