Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or a friend or family member are facing an investigation for a federal criminal charge, one of the first concerns you may have is whether or not there is a possibility for prison time if convicted. One of the most complicated aspects of the federal criminal justice system is the United States Sentencing Guidelines that are designed to ensure that federal judges are providing fair and consistent sentences to defendants with similar criminal histories and who have been charged with similar types of offenses.
Keep in mind that the United States Criminal Code prohibits criminal activity across the United States. So as our friends at the leading criminal defense law firm, without something like the United States Sentencing Guidelines offering some sort of uniformity, a defendant in New York may face a substantially different sentence than someone in California, despite having convictions for similar conduct.
While the guidelines initially required judges to sentence within the designated range, for the past several years the guidelines have only been advisory, as opposed to mandatory. There are certain circumstances that could arise where a judge could sentence a defendant to something either higher or lower than what the guidelines suggest. A federal prosecutor may also extend a plea offer that agrees to a sentence that is lower than the guideline range. It is important to remember that the guidelines are only advisory, and judges are free to consider a variety of factors when they make a decision about the length of a sentence.
Federal crimes are known for both being extremely harsh, and for having very complicated and confusing methods for determining a sentence. For this reason, it is essential that anyone charged with a federal crime speak with a skilled and knowledgeable federal criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with the United State Sentencing Guidelines and who can help a client understand the benefits and downsides of going to trial, in addition to trying to work out a favorable plea agreement, regardless of what the United States Sentencing Guidelines say. Working with a federal defense lawyer is the best way to protect your rights and your liberty.