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What Should You Do If You’ve Been Convicted of a Federal Crime?

October 9, 2021
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Convicted of a Federal Crime?

It’s likely that you will spend several years or decades in prison if you are found guilty of a crime in federal court. There is also a chance that you will be ordered to pay restitution to your victims. Regardless of what your sentence is, there are a series of steps that you’ll need to take to ensure that your family and property are cared for while you are unable to do so on your own.

Schedule Regular Meetings With Your Attorney

Your attorney is going to be one of the few people who you can count on to make your transition to prison as easy as possible. He or she will likely take steps in an effort to get you into a facility as close to home as possible. Furthermore, this person will likely try to persuade the judge to limit the amount of time that you spend in prison or attempt to get you into a minimum security facility.

Staying in contact with your attorney will keep you informed as to what you should expect after you have been convicted of a crime. If you disagree with a jury’s decision, your legal adviser may be able to appeal your conviction on your behalf. However, if you have accepted a plea deal, it’s unlikely that you will want to do anything to jeopardize the possibility of that deal coming to fruition.

What Happens If You Decide to Appeal Your Conviction?

Only 2% of federal cases go to trial, which means that you likely believe in your innocence if you didn’t take a plea deal. Therefore, it’s likely that you will at least consider appealing your case if you receive an unfavorable outcome in your matter.

If you appeal your conviction, you may remain free as the legal process plays out. However, you may face restrictions on your freedom such as adhering to a curfew or refraining from engaging in activities that may cause you to be a danger to society.

You generally have 30 days from the date of your conviction to notify the court that you would like to appeal your conviction. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may take several years before you exhaust your appeals.

In some cases, it may be possible to appeal after you have been sentenced. In such a scenario, you’ll likely claim that your sentence is unjustly harsh or otherwise outside of federal guidelines for a case similar to yours.

Take Care of Tasks That You Can’t Do From Prison

Even if you decide to appeal your case, there is no guarantee that you will have a conviction overturned. Therefore, it’s generally in your best interest to start planning for life on the inside as soon as possible.

In the event that your conviction stands, the court will ask for a sentencing report. This report will help to determine what a fair punishment looks like in your case. It will often take several weeks or months for such a report to be made. Generally speaking, defendants are allowed to remain out of prison during this time so that they can tend to their affairs.

While awaiting sentencing, you should update your estate plan, see your dentist and take care of other tasks that might be easier to accomplish outside of prison. It may also be a good idea to speak with someone who has been in federal prison to learn more about what you can expect while in custody.

Stay Quiet About the Case

As a general rule, it’s never a good idea to speak publicly about a case that is still ongoing. If you spend time in prison, it’s certainly in your best interest to avoid talking about your case. This is because anything that you say could cause a plea deal to collapse before you are formally sentenced. Furthermore, your own words could be used to implicate you in other crimes that you were directly or indirectly involved with. Your attorney will likely advise you to remain silent about the matter until after the case is resolved.

If you are convicted of a drug, computer or other type of federal crime, you will likely face significant sanctions. Ideally, you will stay in close contact with your attorney as he or she may be able to take steps to help minimize the damage a conviction may cause to your personal or professional lives. In some cases, your attorney may be able to overturn the conviction on appeal.



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