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The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

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Can a lawyer help reduce federal violent crime charges?

By Spodek Law Group | October 16, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 17, 2023)

Last Updated on: 17th October 2023, 05:47 pm


Can a Lawyer Help Reduce Federal Violent Crime Charges?

Being charged with a federal violent crime is a scary situation. The penalties are often severe, and the complexities of federal law can make it feel like the odds are stacked against you. But having an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer on your side can make a huge difference.

A good lawyer understands both the law and the federal criminal justice system. They know the potential defenses that could get charges reduced or even dismissed. And they have experience negotiating with prosecutors to secure fair outcomes for their clients.

How Lawyers Fight Federal Violent Crime Charges

There are various strategies criminal defense lawyers use to get federal violent crime charges reduced or dropped:

  • Identifying legal flaws in the prosecution’s case – Lawyers scrutinize the evidence and legal theories to find weaknesses. For example, if evidence was obtained illegally, it may be excluded.
  • Negotiating plea bargains – Many federal cases end in plea deals for lesser charges. Lawyers negotiate these actively.
  • Using affirmative defenses – Things like self-defense, insanity, and duress can sometimes justify otherwise criminal acts.
  • Humanizing clients – Lawyers make sure the prosecution sees their client as more than just an anonymous defendant.
  • Advocating for diversion programs – These alternative programs can avoid convictions and incarceration.
  • Challenging federal sentencing guidelines – Lawyers argue for downward departures from guidelines.
  • Appealing convictions – Lawyers continue fighting even after conviction by appealing to higher courts.

The key is having an attorney who knows the complex federal sentencing rules and sentencing guidelines inside and out. They can identify where there may be room for a more lenient outcome for a client.

Federal Violent Crime Laws Are Harsh

The federal criminal code includes many violent crimes like murder, assault, robbery, and terrorism. Penalties tend to be severe:

  • Murder – Mandatory life sentence or death penalty
  • Assault – Up to 20 years in prison
  • Robbery – Up to 20 years in prison
  • Kidnapping – Up to life in prison
  • Terrorism – Up to life in prison

And that’s just for the underlying violent crime itself. Prosecutors often pile on firearm, conspiracy, racketeering, and other charges that can add decades more prison time.

Unlike state courts, federal sentencing guidelines heavily restrict judges’ discretion. The guidelines provide a formula based on the crime, criminal history, and other factors that spits out a narrow sentencing range judges usually stick to.

With so much at stake, facing federal violent crime charges without an experienced lawyer leaves you at a huge disadvantage.

Fighting Unfair or Excessive Charges

Federal prosecutors have tremendous power. But sometimes they go too far by:

  • Overcharging the case from the start
  • Refusing to dismiss weak charges
  • Piling on excessive sentencing enhancements

A good defense lawyer pushes back hard when they encounter unfair prosecution tactics. For example, in one case a lawyer got prosecutors to drop murder conspiracy charges against a client by presenting evidence the client had withdrawn from the conspiracy before the murder occurred.

In another case, a lawyer convinced prosecutors to drop a firearm sentencing enhancement that would have added 5 years in prison. The lawyer showed the client never actually possessed the gun in question.

Lawyers have to thoroughly analyze each element of every charge and enhancement to find ways to get them dismissed or reduced.

Possible Defenses to Federal Violent Crimes

While every case is different, some possible defenses to federal violent crime charges include:


If you only used necessary force to protect yourself or others against an imminent threat, that can justify an otherwise violent act. But self-defense is narrowly defined, so a lawyer must actively advocate to convince prosecutors.


If mental illness prevented you from understanding your actions or knowing right from wrong, you may have an insanity defense. But you’ll need a psychiatric evaluation and testimony to prove it.


If you only committed a crime because of an immediate threat of death or serious harm against you or a loved one, you may argue you acted under duress. But the threat has to be truly imminent and with no reasonable legal alternatives.

Diminished Capacity

A mental defect or condition short of insanity can be used to argue you lacked the capacity to form the intent required for a crime. This can get charges reduced to a lesser offense.


Evidence of intoxication from drugs or alcohol can be used to show you weren’t capable of forming the intent required by a crime. But it’s not an excuse for the intoxication itself.

Mistake of Fact

If you had an honest and reasonable – but mistaken – belief about the facts of a situation, you may not have had the mental state required for a crime.

The key is having a lawyer who can evaluate the evidence and your mental state to determine if any affirmative defenses might apply.

Alternative Programs to Avoid Convictions

For some first-time, non-violent offenders, lawyers can advocate for diversion programs as an alternative to conviction and incarceration. Options include:

Pretrial Diversion

This involves agreeing to counseling, treatment, community service or other conditions in exchange for charges being dismissed after a period of time.

Deferred Prosecution

Here charges are set aside while you participate in rehab, make restitution, or fulfill other requirements. Charges get dismissed at the end.

Drug Court

These courts supervise treatment and recovery programs for drug offenders as an alternative to incarceration.

However, these programs are rarely available for serious violent crimes. But for minor offenses, like simple assault, a lawyer may be able to make a case for an alternative program.

The Value of an Experienced Federal Crime Lawyer

Don’t go it alone against the formidable power of federal prosecutors. Get advice from a lawyer experienced in federal violent crime cases. They can evaluate the evidence against you and identify the best defense strategies.

A knowledgeable lawyer is your best chance at getting charges dismissed, reduced, or mitigated with affirmative defenses. They know how to negotiate plea bargains and argue for reasonable sentences.

And if you do end up convicted, they can appeal your case and keep fighting for your rights. With so much on the line, a good lawyer’s advocacy can make all the difference.

So don’t delay in contacting an attorney if you or a loved one are facing federal violent crime charges. The earlier you engage their expertise, the better your chances of the best possible outcome.


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