Criminal Law

Specific Offender Characteristics - Determining the Sentence

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§5H1.2GUIDELINES MANUALNovember 1, 2005

§5H1.2. Education and Vocational Skills (Policy Statement)

Education and vocational skills are not ordinarily relevant in determining whether a departure is warranted, but the extent to which a defendant may have misused special training or education to facilitate criminal activity is an express guideline factor. See §3B1.3 (Abuse of Position of Trust or Use of Special Skill).

Education and vocational skills may be relevant in determining the conditions of probation or supervised release for rehabilitative purposes, for public protection by restricting activities that allow for the utilization of a certain skill, or in determining the appropriate type of community service.

Historical Note:: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendment 386); November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 674).

§5H1.3. Mental and Emotional Conditions (Policy Statement)

Mental and emotional conditions are not ordinarily relevant in determining whether a departure is warranted, except as provided in Chapter Five, Part K, Subpart 2 (Other Grounds for Departure).

Mental and emotional conditions may be relevant in determining the conditions of probation or supervised release; e.g., participation in a mental health program (see §§5B1.3(d)(5) and 5D1.3(d)(5)).

Historical Note:: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendment 386); November 1, 1997 (see Appendix C, amendment 569); November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 674).

§5H1.4. Physical Condition, Including Drug or Alcohol Dependence or Abuse; Gambling Addiction (Policy Statement)

Physical condition or appearance, including physique, is not ordinarily relevant in determining whether a departure may be warranted. However, an extraordinary physical impairment may be a reason to depart downward; e.g., in the case of a seriously infirm defendant, home detention may be as efficient as, and less costly than, imprisonment.

Drug or alcohol dependence or abuse is not a reason for a downward departure. Substance abuse is highly correlated to an increased propensity to commit crime. Due to this increased risk, it is highly recommended that a defendant who is incarcerated also be sentenced to supervised release with a requirement that the defendant participate in an appropriate substance abuse program (see §5D1.3(d)(4)). If participation in a substance abuse program is required, the length of supervised release should take into account the length of time necessary for the supervisory body to judge the success of the program.

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