How do you determine a criminal sentence?

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How do you determine a criminal sentence?

A friend of mine has been indicted on 4 counts on a heroin/oxycodone charge; 3 counts of distributing heroin within 1000 ft of a school;and 1 count of distributing oxycodone within 1000 ft of a school. The press release states, “If convicted, Xfaces a maximum penalty of 40 years imprisonment and a fine of $2,000,000 on each count of the Indictment.” Does that mean it is possible for him to be sentenced 40 years and $2 million for each count, or is that for all the counts combined?

Asked on October 8, 2010 under Criminal Law, West Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If it reads as you have written then it is on each countlisted in the indictment.  Yes, that would be 8 times 40 years and 8 times $2,000,000 for the monetarycharges as well.  These are the maximum charges he can receive, meaning the longest time and the most amount of money.  The statute that provides for sentencing may give leeway for the sentencing judge to allow the sentences to run "concurrently" or "consecutively" meaning at the same time or one after the other. Still not a good thing. This is not something that should be taken lightly as I am sure that you know.  Your friend needs legal help - good legal help - as soon as he can get it.     


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