2009 FEDERAL SENTENCING GUIDELINES MANUAL
CHAPTER 1 - PART B - GENERAL APPLICATION PRINCIPLES
§1B1.5. Interpretation of References to Other Offense Guidelines
(a) A cross reference (an instruction to apply another offense guideline) refers to the entire offense guideline (i.e., the base offense level, specific offense characteristics, cross references, and special instructions).
(b) (1) An instruction to use the offense level from another offense guideline refers to the offense level from the entire offense guideline (i.e., the base offense level, specific offense characteristics, cross references, and special instructions), except as provided in subdivision (2) below.
(2) An instruction to use a particular subsection or table from another offense guideline refers only to the particular subsection or table referenced, and not to the entire offense guideline.
(c) If the offense level is determined by a reference to another guideline under subsection (a) or (b)(1) above, the adjustments in Chapter Three (Adjustments) also are determined in respect to the referenced offense guideline, except as otherwise expressly provided.
(d) A reference to another guideline under subsection (a) or (b)(1) above may direct that it be applied only if it results in the greater offense level. In such case, the greater offense level means the greater Chapter Two offense level, except as otherwise expressly provided.
1. References to other offense guidelines are most frequently designated "Cross References," but may also appear in the portion of the guideline entitled "Base Offense Level" (e.g., §2D1.2(a)(1) and (2)), or "Specific Offense Characteristics" (e.g., §2A4.1(b)(7)). These references may be to a specific guideline, or may be more general (e.g., to the guideline for the "underlying offense"). Such references incorporate the specific offense characteristics, cross references, and special instructions as well as the base offense level. For example, if the guideline reads "2 plus the offense level from §2A2.2 (Aggravated Assault)," the user would determine the offense level from §2A2.2, including any applicable adjustments for planning, weapon use, degree of injury and motive, and then increase by 2 levels.
A reference may also be to a specific subsection of another guideline; e.g., the reference in §2D1.10(a)(1) to "3 plus the offense level from the Drug Quantity Table in §2D1.1". In such case, only the specific subsection of that other guideline is used.
2. A reference to another guideline may direct that such reference is to be used only if it results in a greater offense level. In such cases, the greater offense level means the offense level taking into account only the Chapter Two offense level, unless the offense guideline expressly provides for consideration of both the Chapter Two offense level and applicable Chapter Three adjustments. For situations in which a comparison involving both Chapters Two and Three is necessary, see the Commentary to §§2C1.1 (Offering, Giving, Soliciting, or Receiving a Bribe; Extortion Under Color of Official Right; Fraud Involving the Deprivation of the Intangible Right to Honest Services of Public Officials; Conspiracy to Defraud by Interference with Governmental Functions); 2E1.1 (Unlawful Conduct Relating to Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations); and 2E1.2 (Interstate or Foreign Travel or Transportation in Aid of a Racketeering Enterprise).
3. A reference may direct that, if the conduct involved another offense, the offense guideline for such other offense is to be applied. Consistent with the provisions of §1B1.3 (Relevant Conduct), such other offense includes conduct that may be a state or local offense and conduct that occurred under circumstances that would constitute a federal offense had the conduct taken place within the territorial or maritime jurisdiction of the United States. Where there is more than one such other offense, the most serious such offense (or group of closely related offenses in the case of offenses that would be grouped together under §3D1.2(d)) is to be used. For example, if a defendant convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon, to which §2K2.1 (Unlawful Receipt, Possession, or Transportation of Firearms or Ammunition; Prohibited Transactions Involving Firearms or Ammunition) applies, is found to have possessed that firearm during commission of a series of offenses, the cross reference at §2K2.1(c) is applied to the offense resulting in the greatest offense level.
Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendments 79, 80, and 302); November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendment 429); November 1, 1992 (see Appendix C, amendment 440); November 1, 1995 (see Appendix C, amendment 534); November 1, 1997 (see Appendix C, amendment 547); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 616); November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 666).