(a) General rule.--The commission shall adopt guidelines for sentencing within the limits established by law which shall be considered by the sentencing court in determining the appropriate sentence for defendants who plead guilty or nolo contendere to, or who were found guilty of, felonies and misdemeanors. In adopting guidelines, the commission shall recommend confinement that is consistent with the protection of the public, the gravity of the offense as it relates to the impact on the life of the victim and the community and the rehabilitative needs of the offender. The guidelines shall address the following:
(1) Seriousness of the offense, by specifying the range of sentences applicable to crimes of a given degree of gravity, including incapacitation of serious violent offenders.
(2) Criminal history, by specifying a range of sentences of increased severity for offenders previously convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for one or more misdemeanor or felony offenses committed prior to the current offense.
(3) Criminal behavior, by specifying a range of sentences of increased severity for offenders who pose a substantial risk to public safety, including those who possessed or used a deadly weapon during the commission of the current conviction offense.
(4) Aggravated and mitigated ranges, by specifying variations from the range of sentences applicable on account of aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
(5) The impact of any amendments to section 9756 (relating to sentence of total confinement).
(b) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
“Possessed.” On a defendant's person or within the defendant's immediate physical control.
“Previously convicted of or adjudicated delinquent.” Any finding of guilt or adjudication of delinquency, whether or not sentence has been imposed or disposition ordered prior to the commission of the current offense.
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