Sentencing guidelines FY2019-FY2021 data
Welcome to the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission’s Data page.
- Sentencing Guidelines data are based upon sentencing events. All offenses sentenced in the same court by the same judge at the same time are included in one sentencing event.
- Offenses are categorized by Virginia Crime Codes (VCCs). For a listing of all VCCs, including corresponding penalty structures and offense characteristics, see the VCC tab of this site.
- The date range for each fiscal year spans cases with a sentencing date between July 1 and June 30 (for example, a case sentenced on July 18, 2017 would fall under FY2018).
- Sentencing events are identified by the primary, or most serious, conviction offense, based on rules specified in the Virginia Sentencing Guidelines Manual. Only sentencing events with a guidelines-eligible primary offense receive a sentencing recommendation. Data include such “non-guidelines” cases with no recommendation.
- The Nonviolent Risk Assessment (NVRA) is completed for offenders with drug or property primary offenses to determine eligibility for alternative sentencing. The “NVRA” fields record eligibility factors, scoring factors, and resulting recommendations from the NVRA form. The corresponding NVRA form can be found on the Worksheets page of the VCSC website within drug and property worksheets.
- The Sex Offender Risk Assessment (SORA) is completed for offenders with primary offenses within the Rape or Other Sexual Assault offense groups. This assessment extends the high end of the sentence recommendation for cases with certain aggravating characteristics. The “SORA” fields record eligibility factors, scoring factors, and resulting recommendations from the SORA form. The corresponding SORA form can be found on the Worksheets page of the VCSC website as “Section A – Part I” of the Rape or Other Sexual Assault worksheets.
- The effective sentence for each is event is calculated in the “Effective Sentence-(Judge w/o Alternative Sentencing)” field as the total sentence imposed by the judge, minus any time suspended. The “Effective Sentence-(Judge+Alternative Sentencing)” field uses the same calculation with the addition of time sentenced to alternative sanctions that involve a period of confinement, such as the Community Corrections Alternative Program (CCAP).
- Sentencing Guidelines are discretionary, meaning judges may sentence below or above the recommended ranges. The two “Sentence Concurrence” fields record whether each effective sentence is aligned with the Guidelines recommendation. Refer to the “Calculating Concurrence” sheet in this page for details on the different methods used to determine case concurrence with sentence recommendations.
- Departure reasons: If a reason is given for departure from the recommended sentence range, the report includes a general description (in the “Departure Code” fields) of the departure reason given by the judge as categorized by the VCSC staff. It is not the exact wording given by the judge; VCSC staff classify departure reasons into categories for analysis purposes. Up to three departure categories are assigned for each case.
- Judges may sentence offenders to alternative programs and special conditions in lieu of or addition to an active term of incarceration. These alternatives and sanctions are recorded in the “Other Sanction Type” fields.