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I want to personally welcome you to the Hedding Law Firm Federal Criminal Defense Blog. We will make every effort to discuss the latest developments and issues in the Federal Criminal Defense World. There are so many issues related to federal criminal cases, I am sure that we will cover many of them as the months and years pass.

Probably the most significant topic ,related to the federal criminal system, is the federal sentencing guidelines. Many people do not realize that the same federal guidelines are used across the country. It is also important to note that the federal criminal defense sentencing guidelines are advisory..a judge now has the ability to give whatever sentence they deem long as they consider the sentencing guides. This development has now shifted significant discretion back to the federal court judges. In my opinion, this has given and will continue to give deserving defendants the opportunity to stay out of federal prison.

I sincerely hope that you enjoy reading about some of the topics, issues and cases in this blog. If you are charged with a federal crime, I encourage you to contact me and discuss your case. I have successfully handled many federal criminal defense cases over the years and feel confident that once you meet with me, you will be convinced that I have the know how and legal abilities to help you.

Does The Judge Have Any Input Into A Federal A Plea Agreement?

Where the judges’ power is in a federal case is at the sentencing. The judges have complete discretion, tempered by the sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors are the ones who control what the charges are that are filed against the defendant. Judges don’t usually interfere with the charges or with a plea agreement, unless they believe it is unfair. In that case, the plea would either have to be changed or the case would have to go to trial. Are Plea Bargains Available In All Federal Cases? Typically, with someone who has got federal charges against them, their case is set for...

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Can I Ever Withdraw A Guilty Plea In A Federal Case?

When you go into federal court to enter your plea, the judge goes through a long colloquy related to your rights, what you’re getting yourself into, and your discussions with your attorney. It is rare that a federal judge would allow a person to withdraw a plea. There certainly are grounds, in some cases, but again it is never a good idea. It could result in disaster, as far as a more serious sentence. If I Accept A Plea Offer And Plead Guilty, Can I Appeal This Decision Later? Built into most federal plea agreements is language related to the...

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When Does The Plea Bargaining Process Start In A Federal Case?

After the client initially appears and the judge determines whether they are to be released or to stay in custody, the client and the attorney are given the indictment in the case, which is the charging document. The prosecutors have to get all the paperwork related to the case to the attorney and the attorney will review it with their client and make a decision on whether it’s the type of case that they want to negotiate or if they should fight the case. Negotiation with Federal Prosecutor on Plea Agreement If it is decided that it is in the...

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Federal Criminal Money Laundering Charges

What most people don’t realize is that a federal criminal money laundering case can take many different forms and it’s a bit confusing because you look at the law on this subject and a lot of these websites are just spouting off a bunch of law without giving any explanation — without breathing any life into the subject matter — because people sometimes when they get arrested or indicted for money laundering they can’t even figure out what they’ve done wrong. Illegally Obtained Money or Credit Line The issues is, you basically have proceeds or money or a credit line...

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Federal Criminal Defense of Law Enforcement Officers

In the twenty-five years that I’ve been defending police officers who have been charged I’ve noticed that a lot of times once a police officer is charged, unfortunately they are treated and viewed as the very criminals that they are sworn to protect society against. I really think it does them a disservice because the prosecutors tend to lose sight of the fact that these individuals have helped the community for many years and it’s not fair to just jump to the conclusion that all of a sudden they’re a criminal just because somebody made a filing decision to charge...

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Will Judge Compare Co-Defendant Sentence in Federal Criminal Case?

This is a good question because a lot of federal criminal cases, multiple defendants are charged at the same time, and usually what you’ll see is whoever’s at the top of the indictment in a federal criminal case, is usually who the prosecutors or government view as the most serious players in the criminal case.  In other words, the ones who are most involved who are facing the most time in a criminal case. So, a lot of times you want to see what one defendant will get and if you’re similar to that defendant, you can make an argument...

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Using Family Circumstances to Lower Your Federal Criminal Sentence

When it comes to sentencing in federal criminal cases, judges can look at all sorts of different factors, and certainly person’s family circumstances would be a relevant inquiry.  But, the reality is, unless you’ve got some serious family circumstances, it’s unlikely that the court in a federal criminal case is going to look at that and give you levels off based on a family circumstance departure argument. Federal Judges Are Strict On Allowing Family Issue Departure I make all kinds of family circumstance arguments and sometimes I have been successful, but one of the biggest problems is usually everybody has...

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Can Playing a Minor Role in a Federal Criminal Sentencing Help You?

When it comes to sentencing at a federal level as it relates to criminal cases, one of the key things that you and your attorney want to try to do is obviously, give all of the mitigating information related to you and your circumstances and this concept of minor role and definitely help in that. Mitigating Factors in Federal Sentencing As you may probably already know, if you’re in the middle of your federal criminal case, the lower your levels are the less sentence you are potentially facing from the judge.  One way to get a couple of levels knocked...

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Federal Sentence Reductions For Substantial Cooperation

Federal sentences can be reduced for substantial assistance in the investigation or prosecution of another, and the mandatory minimum may not have to be followed. There are rules under which a sentence is commonly reduced for “substantial assistance,” including Section 5K1.1 of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Both of these motions  fall under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(e). These rules can be used to reduce a mandatory minimum sentence. When it comes to cooperation in a federal case across the nation, basically what prosecutors do is they try and get people who...

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Don’t Get the Maximum Sentence – Get the best possible federal criminal defense attorney

Federal Sentencing Guidelines: According to the U.S. Federal Sentencing Guidelines, federal crimes can be classified in terms of 43offense categories. The offense level is matched up with the Criminal History Category (there are six different history categories) to determine sentencing. To find a recommended prison sentence, a judge simply cross-references the offense level with the Criminal History. For instance, an offender who commits a level 16 offense and who has a Criminal History of IV, according to the table, should get 33 to 41 months behind bars, all things being equal. Of course when you hire a seasoned federal criminal...

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