In Federal Court, all crimes are provided a base offense level.  Your base offense level is then adjusted upward or downward depending on your involvement in the case, and the offense characteristics and circumstances.  Your criminal history category is also calculated based upon your prior conviction history.  Based on your offense level and criminal history category, you can find the recommended sentencing guideline range for your crime.  The guideline range is a suggested number of months of incarceration. While the guideline range is not a mandatory sentencing range, and only serves as a guide for a Federal Judge to consider when imposing a sentence, many judges place great weight on the Federal Sentencing Guideline Range.