Basic Criminal History


(Updated April 2024)  This eLearning module introduces the criminal history rules used to apply the federal sentencing guidelines. This program emphasizes real-world scenarios to better illustrate the application of the criminal history rules.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • Explain the function and importance of determining the Criminal History Category for a particular defendant;
  • Determine the length of a defendant's prior sentence;
  • Assess whether a defendant's prior sentence falls within the applicable time frame to count for criminal history points;
  • Describe special rules used to score particular prior sentences; and
  • Apply the criminal history rules to calculate criminal history points using real-world scenarios.

In order to complete the exercises in this course, you will need a copy of the Guidelines Manual.


For a better understanding of the interplay between relevant conduct and criminal history, please be sure to have previously reviewed the ‘Basic Relevant Conduct’ module (link below).