Under Pennsylvania law, sentencing questions and issues are resolved by understanding a person's sentencing guidelines (which is composed of his prior record score, offense gravity score, and aggravating or mitigating factors), the implication of mandatory minimum sentences, and any enhancements.
This blog will deal specifically with deadly weapon enhancement. PA law states that, "when the court determines that the offender possessed a deadly weapon during the commission of the current criminal conviction offense, the court shall consider the D.W.E./Possession Matrix." This matrix is the same basic grid as the sentencing guidelines. The DWE matrix is additional months the court can add if it chooses to after determining that the offender possessed and/or used a deadly weapon.
The court shall determine that the offender possessed a deadly weapon if any of the following were on his person or in his immediate control:
1. any firearm as defined whether it was loaded or unloaded
2. any dangerous weapon
3. any device designed as a weapon or capable of producing death or serious bodily injury