2007 Federal Sentencing Guidelines


CHAPTER FOUR - PART B - CAREER OFFENDERS AND CRIMINAL LIVELIHOOD

§4B1.1. Career Offender

(a) A defendant is a career offender if (1) the defendant was at least eighteen years old at the time the defendant committed the instant offense of conviction; (2) the instant offense of conviction is a felony that is either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense; and (3) the defendant has at least two prior felony convictions of either a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), if the offense level for a career offender from the table in this subsection is greater than the offense level otherwise applicable, the offense level from the table in this subsection shall apply. A career offender’s criminal history category in every case under this subsection shall be Category VI.

 

Offense Statutory Maximum

Offense Level*

(A)

Life

37

(B)

25 years or more

34

(C)

20 years or more, but less than 25 years

32

(D)

15 years or more, but less than 20 years

29

(E)

10 years or more, but less than 15 years

24

(F)

5 years or more, but less than 10 years

17

(G)

More than 1 year, but less than 5 years

12.

*If an adjustment from §3E1.1 (Acceptance of Responsibility) applies, decrease the offense level by the number of levels corresponding to that adjustment.

(c) If the defendant is convicted of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or § 929(a), and the defendant is determined to be a career offender under subsection (a), the applicable guideline range shall be determined as follows:

(1) If the only count of conviction is 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or § 929(a), the applicable guideline range shall be determined using the table in subsection (c)(3).

(2) In the case of multiple counts of conviction in which at least one of the counts is a conviction other than a conviction for 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or § 929(a), the guideline range shall be the greater of—

(A) the guideline range that results by adding the mandatory minimum consecutive penalty required by the 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or § 929(a) count(s) to the minimum and the maximum of the otherwise applicable guideline range determined for the count(s) of conviction other than the 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or § 929(a) count(s); and

(B) the guideline range determined using the table in subsection (c)(3).

(3) Career Offender Table for 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or § 929(a) Offenders

§3E1.1 Reduction

Guideline Range for the 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or § 929(a) Count(s)

No reduction

360-life

2-level reduction

292-365

3-level reduction

262-327.

Commentary

Application Notes:

1. "Crime of violence," "controlled substance offense," and "two prior felony convictions" are defined in §4B1.2.

2. "Offense Statutory Maximum," for the purposes of this guideline, refers to the maximum term of imprisonment authorized for the offense of conviction that is a crime of violence or controlled substance offense, including any increase in that maximum term under a sentencing enhancement provision that applies because of the defendant’s prior criminal record (such sentencing enhancement provisions are contained, for example, in 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(A), (B), (C), and (D)). For example, in a case in which the statutory maximum term of imprisonment under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(C) is increased from twenty years to thirty years because the defendant has one or more qualifying prior drug convictions, the "Offense Statutory Maximum" for that defendant for the purposes of this guideline is thirty years and not twenty years. If more than one count of conviction is of a crime of violence or controlled substance offense, use the maximum authorized term of imprisonment for the count that has the greatest offense statutory maximum.

3. Application of Subsection (c).—

(A) In General.—Subsection (c) applies in any case in which the defendant (i) was convicted of violating 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or § 929(a); and (ii) as a result of that conviction (alone or in addition to another offense of conviction), is determined to be a career offender under §4B1.1(a).

(B) Subsection (c)(2).—To determine the greater guideline range under subsection (c)(2), the court shall use the guideline range with the highest minimum term of imprisonment.

(C) "Otherwise Applicable Guideline Range".—For purposes of subsection (c)(2)(A), "otherwise applicable guideline range" for the count(s) of conviction other than the 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or 18 U.S.C. § 929(a) count(s) is determined as follows:

(i) If the count(s) of conviction other than the 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or 18 U.S.C. § 929(a) count(s) does not qualify the defendant as a career offender, the otherwise applicable guideline range for that count(s) is the guideline range determined using: (I) the Chapter Two and Three offense level for that count(s); and (II) the appropriate criminal history category determined under §§4A1.1 (Criminal History Category) and 4A1.2 (Definitions and Instructions for Computing Criminal History).

(ii) If the count(s) of conviction other than the 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or 18 U.S.C. § 929(a) count(s) qualifies the defendant as a career offender, the otherwise applicable guideline range for that count(s) is the guideline range determined for that count(s) under §4B1.1(a) and (b).

(D) Imposition of Consecutive Term of Imprisonment.—In a case involving multiple counts, the sentence shall be imposed according to the rules in subsection (e) of §5G1.2 (Sentencing on Multiple Counts of Conviction).

(E) Example.—The following example illustrates the application of subsection (c)(2) in a multiple count situation:

The defendant is convicted of one count of violating 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense (5 year mandatory minimum), and one count of violating 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B) (5 year mandatory minimum, 40 year statutory maximum). Applying subsection (c)(2)(A), the court determines that the drug count (without regard to the 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) count) qualifies the defendant as a career offender under §4B1.1(a). Under §4B1.1(a), the otherwise applicable guideline range for the drug count is 188-235 months (using offense level 34 (because the statutory maximum for the drug count is 40 years), minus 3 levels for acceptance of responsibility, and criminal history category VI). The court adds 60 months (the minimum required by 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)) to the minimum and the maximum of that range, resulting in a guideline range of 248-295 months. Applying subsection (c)(2)(B), the court then determines the career offender guideline range from the table in subsection (c)(3) is 262-327 months. The range with the greatest minimum, 262-327 months, is used to impose the sentence in accordance with §5G1.2(e).

Background: Section 994(h) of Title 28, United States Code, mandates that the Commission assure that certain "career" offenders receive a sentence of imprisonment "at or near the maximum term authorized." Section 4B1.1 implements this directive, with the definition of a career offender tracking in large part the criteria set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 994(h). However, in accord with its general guideline promulgation authority under 28 U.S.C. § 994(a)-(f), and its amendment authority under 28 U.S.C. § 994(o) and (p), the Commission has modified this definition in several respects to focus more precisely on the class of recidivist offenders for whom a lengthy term of imprisonment is appropriate and to avoid "unwarranted sentencing disparities among defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of similar criminal conduct . . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 991(b)(1)(B). The Commission’s refinement of this definition over time is consistent with Congress’s choice of a directive to the Commission rather than a mandatory minimum sentencing statute ("The [Senate Judiciary] Committee believes that such a directive to the Commission will be more effective; the guidelines development process can assure consistent and rational implementation for the Committee’s view that substantial prison terms should be imposed on repeat violent offenders and repeat drug traffickers." S. Rep. No. 225, 98th Cong., 1st Sess. 175 (1983)).

Subsection (c) provides rules for determining the sentence for career offenders who have been convicted of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) or § 929(a). The Career Offender Table in subsection (c)(3) provides a sentence at or near the statutory maximum for these offenders by using guideline ranges that correspond to criminal history category VI and offense level 37 (assuming §3E.1.1 (Acceptance of Responsibility) does not apply), offense level 35 (assuming a 2-level reduction under §3E.1.1 applies), and offense level 34 (assuming a 3-level reduction under §3E1.1 applies).

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective January 15, 1988 (see Appendix C, amendments 47 and 48); November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendments 266 and 267); November 1, 1992 (see Appendix C, amendment 459); November 1, 1994 (see Appendix C, amendment 506); November 1, 1995 (see Appendix C, amendment 528); November 1, 1997 (see Appendix C, amendments 546 and 567); November 1, 2002 (see Appendix C, amendment 642).