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How to Get a Short Sentence in Federal Criminal Case

If you’re charged with a federal crime, you obviously don’t want to go to prison for a long time. Probably one of the biggest factors that will get you a short sentence is if your attorney can convince the judge that you’re not a threat to the community and you don’t deserve to get a lengthy sentence. There are a number of what we call downward departures which can be used to help you.  For example, your family circumstances, if you cooperate with the government you can get a 5K departure which can take your sentence down significantly, if you...

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Factors That Cause Long Prison Sentences in a Federal Case

There are a whole host of factors that judges and prosecutors look at when dealing with federal criminal cases and giving lengthy sentences.  One of the biggest, obviously, is whether you’ve committed a crime that has a mandatory minimum. For example, there are certain theft offenses that a 2-year mandatory minimum if it’s aggravated.  Also, there are certain drug crimes, that if you have enough of the drug, there’s a 10-year mandatory minimum. There’s a number of other situations where mandatory minimums apply. Obviously, one of the biggest things you want to do if you’re facing one of these mandatory...

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Who Decides Your Sentence in a Federal Criminal Case?

A lot of people get confused when it comes to these federal criminal cases.  They don’t realize that even though your attorney is going to argue for the lowest possible sentence, and the prosecutor sometimes will ask for the highest possible sentence, that the bottom line is, ultimately the judge will decide what your fate is as far as your sentence goes. That’s why a lot of times at the plea when someone is entering a guilty plea to the charges, the judge will specifically ask the defendant whether or not anyone has promised them anything. Factors Considered By Federal...

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Role of Federal Sentencing Guidelines in a Criminal Case

Sentencing guidelines in federal cases across the nation, in my opinion, having done this for 27 years, basically act as a guideline for the judge, the prosecutor and the defense in how and what sentence a criminal defendant will receive in a federal case. What I mean by that is, it is undisputed that the judge has the ability to go outside the guidelines when sentencing a criminal defendant.  It’s also undisputed that the prosecution and the defense can request sentences outside the guidelines. Seeking a Lower Federal Sentence In fact, it’s common for defense attorneys to try to get...

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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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