18 U.S.C. § 3553 : US Code - Section 3553: Imposition of a sentence

      (a) Factors To Be Considered in Imposing a Sentence. - The court
    shall impose a sentence sufficient, but not greater than necessary,
    to comply with the purposes set forth in paragraph (2) of this
    subsection. The court, in determining the particular sentence to be
    imposed, shall consider - 
        (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history
      and characteristics of the defendant;
        (2) the need for the sentence imposed - 
          (A) to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote
        respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the
        offense;
          (B) to afford adequate deterrence to criminal conduct;
          (C) to protect the public from further crimes of the
        defendant; and
          (D) to provide the defendant with needed educational or
        vocational training, medical care, or other correctional
        treatment in the most effective manner;

        (3) the kinds of sentences available;
        (4) the kinds of sentence and the sentencing range established
      for - 
          (A) the applicable category of offense committed by the
        applicable category of defendant as set forth in the guidelines
        - 
            (i) issued by the Sentencing Commission pursuant to section
          994(a)(1) of title 28, United States Code, subject to any
          amendments made to such guidelines by act of Congress
          (regardless of whether such amendments have yet to be
          incorporated by the Sentencing Commission into amendments
          issued under section 994(p) of title 28); and
            (ii) that, except as provided in section 3742(g), are in
          effect on the date the defendant is sentenced; or

          (B) in the case of a violation of probation or supervised
        release, the applicable guidelines or policy statements issued
        by the Sentencing Commission pursuant to section 994(a)(3) of
        title 28, United States Code, taking into account any
        amendments made to such guidelines or policy statements by act
        of Congress (regardless of whether such amendments have yet to
        be incorporated by the Sentencing Commission into amendments
        issued under section 994(p) of title 28);

        (5) any pertinent policy statement - 
          (A) issued by the Sentencing Commission pursuant to section
        994(a)(2) of title 28, United States Code, subject to any
        amendments made to such policy statement by act of Congress
        (regardless of whether such amendments have yet to be
        incorporated by the Sentencing Commission into amendments
        issued under section 994(p) of title 28); and
          (B) that, except as provided in section 3742(g), is in effect
        on the date the defendant is sentenced.(!1)


        (6) the need to avoid unwarranted sentence disparities among
      defendants with similar records who have been found guilty of
      similar conduct; and
        (7) the need to provide restitution to any victims of the
      offense.

      (b) Application of Guidelines in Imposing a Sentence. - 
        (1) In general. - Except as provided in paragraph (2), the
      court shall impose a sentence of the kind, and within the range,
      referred to in subsection (a)(4) unless the court finds that
      there exists an aggravating or mitigating circumstance of a kind,
      or to a degree, not adequately taken into consideration by the
      Sentencing Commission in formulating the guidelines that should
      result in a sentence different from that described. In
      determining whether a circumstance was adequately taken into
      consideration, the court shall consider only the sentencing
      guidelines, policy statements, and official commentary of the
      Sentencing Commission. In the absence of an applicable sentencing
      guideline, the court shall impose an appropriate sentence, having
      due regard for the purposes set forth in subsection (a)(2). In
      the absence of an applicable sentencing guideline in the case of
      an offense other than a petty offense, the court shall also have
      due regard for the relationship of the sentence imposed to
      sentences prescribed by guidelines applicable to similar offenses
      and offenders, and to the applicable policy statements of the
      Sentencing Commission.
        (2) Child crimes and sexual offenses. - 
          (A) (!2) Sentencing. - In sentencing a defendant convicted of
        an offense under section 1201 involving a minor victim, an
        offense under section 1591, or an offense under chapter 71,
        109A, 110, or 117, the court shall impose a sentence of the
        kind, and within the range, referred to in subsection (a)(4)
        unless - 

            (i) the court finds that there exists an aggravating
          circumstance of a kind, or to a degree, not adequately taken
          into consideration by the Sentencing Commission in
          formulating the guidelines that should result in a sentence
          greater than that described;
            (ii) the court finds that there exists a mitigating
          circumstance of a kind or to a degree, that - 
              (I) has been affirmatively and specifically identified as
            a permissible ground of downward departure in the
            sentencing guidelines or policy statements issued under
            section 994(a) of title 28, taking account of any
            amendments to such sentencing guidelines or policy
            statements by Congress;
              (II) has not been taken into consideration by the
            Sentencing Commission in formulating the guidelines; and
              (III) should result in a sentence different from that
            described; or

            (iii) the court finds, on motion of the Government, that
          the defendant has provided substantial assistance in the
          investigation or prosecution of another person who has
          committed an offense and that this assistance established a
          mitigating circumstance of a kind, or to a degree, not
          adequately taken into consideration by the Sentencing
          Commission in formulating the guidelines that should result
          in a sentence lower than that described.

    In determining whether a circumstance was adequately taken into
    consideration, the court shall consider only the sentencing
    guidelines, policy statements, and official commentary of the
    Sentencing Commission, together with any amendments thereto by act
    of Congress. In the absence of an applicable sentencing guideline,
    the court shall impose an appropriate sentence, having due regard
    for the purposes set forth in subsection (a)(2). In the absence of
    an applicable sentencing guideline in the case of an offense other
    than a petty offense, the court shall also have due regard for the
    relationship of the sentence imposed to sentences prescribed by
    guidelines applicable to similar offenses and offenders, and to the
    applicable policy statements of the Sentencing Commission, together
    with any amendments to such guidelines or policy statements by act
    of Congress.
      (c) Statement of Reasons for Imposing a Sentence. - The court, at
    the time of sentencing, shall state in open court the reasons for
    its imposition of the particular sentence, and, if the sentence - 
        (1) is of the kind, and within the range, described in
      subsection (a)(4), and that range exceeds 24 months, the reason
      for imposing a sentence at a particular point within the range;
      or
        (2) is not of the kind, or is outside the range, described in
      subsection (a)(4), the specific reason for the imposition of a
      sentence different from that described, which reasons must also
      be stated with specificity in a statement of reasons form issued
      under section 994(w)(1)(B) of title 28, except to the extent that
      the court relies upon statements received in camera in accordance
      with Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32. In the event that the
      court relies upon statements received in camera in accordance
      with Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32 the court shall state
      that such statements were so received and that it relied upon the
      content of such statements.

    If the court does not order restitution, or orders only partial
    restitution, the court shall include in the statement the reason
    therefor. The court shall provide a transcription or other
    appropriate public record of the court's statement of reasons,
    together with the order of judgment and commitment, to the
    Probation System and to the Sentencing Commission,,(!3) and, if the
    sentence includes a term of imprisonment, to the Bureau of Prisons.

      (d) Presentence Procedure for an Order of Notice. - Prior to
    imposing an order of notice pursuant to section 3555, the court
    shall give notice to the defendant and the Government that it is
    considering imposing such an order. Upon motion of the defendant or
    the Government, or on its own motion, the court shall - 
        (1) permit the defendant and the Government to submit
      affidavits and written memoranda addressing matters relevant to
      the imposition of such an order;
        (2) afford counsel an opportunity in open court to address
      orally the appropriateness of the imposition of such an order;
      and
        (3) include in its statement of reasons pursuant to subsection
      (c) specific reasons underlying its determinations regarding the
      nature of such an order.

    Upon motion of the defendant or the Government, or on its own
    motion, the court may in its discretion employ any additional
    procedures that it concludes will not unduly complicate or prolong
    the sentencing process.
      (e) Limited Authority To Impose a Sentence Below a Statutory
    Minimum. - Upon motion of the Government, the court shall have the
    authority to impose a sentence below a level established by statute
    as a minimum sentence so as to reflect a defendant's substantial
    assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another person
    who has committed an offense. Such sentence shall be imposed in
    accordance with the guidelines and policy statements issued by the
    Sentencing Commission pursuant to section 994 of title 28, United
    States Code.
      (f) Limitation on Applicability of Statutory Minimums in Certain
    Cases. - Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the case of
    an offense under section 401, 404, or 406 of the Controlled
    Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 841, 844, 846) or section 1010 or 1013 of
    the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act (21 U.S.C. 960,
    963), the court shall impose a sentence pursuant to guidelines
    promulgated by the United States Sentencing Commission under
    section 994 of title 28 without regard to any statutory minimum
    sentence, if the court finds at sentencing, after the Government
    has been afforded the opportunity to make a recommendation, that - 
        (1) the defendant does not have more than 1 criminal history
      point, as determined under the sentencing guidelines;
        (2) the defendant did not use violence or credible threats of
      violence or possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon (or
      induce another participant to do so) in connection with the
      offense;
        (3) the offense did not result in death or serious bodily
      injury to any person;
        (4) the defendant was not an organizer, leader, manager, or
      supervisor of others in the offense, as determined under the
      sentencing guidelines and was not engaged in a continuing
      criminal enterprise, as defined in section 408 of the Controlled
      Substances Act; and
        (5) not later than the time of the sentencing hearing, the
      defendant has truthfully provided to the Government all
      information and evidence the defendant has concerning the offense
      or offenses that were part of the same course of conduct or of a
      common scheme or plan, but the fact that the defendant has no
      relevant or useful other information to provide or that the
      Government is already aware of the information shall not preclude
      a determination by the court that the defendant has complied with
      this requirement.