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What Should You Do If You’ve Been Convicted Of A Federal Crime

By Spodek Law Group | January 31, 2019
(Last Updated On: August 1, 2023)

Last Updated on: 1st August 2023, 12:40 am

If you or your loved one gets convicted in a federal court, you may be at cross-end on your next step. The passing of a guilty verdict can be shocking and crushing. After spending so much time preparing and presenting your case, getting a guilty verdict can be profoundly disorienting. Most people in such a situation do not know whether they have viable options or continue fighting the sentencing. However, it would help if you now started preparing for the next options available. Below we explain the options available after receiving a conviction for a federal crime.

What is a federal crime?

Laws are governing both the federal and state level. The California Assembly sets the penalties for State laws for crimes like robbery, drug violation, and assault. And the state court handles the prosecution. There are other cases where the federal government is the victim, and such cases are federal crimes. These crimes include counterfeiting, tax evasion, and mail tampering. For such crimes, the federal government handles the investigation and prosecution of such cases. Other crimes crossing the state lines include interstate, identity theft, internet crimes, and child pornography.

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

The vital thing to note is that getting a guilty verdict for a federal crime does not mean the end of the road of your legal battle. It’s just the start of your fight, which means that you need to make life-altering decisions, including whether you wish to continue with the legal battles at sentencing or if you wish to appeal the verdict given for your case. Your choices will affect your life, so you may want the most experienced legal representation to provide you with the best legal counsel.

Prepare for sentencing

After getting convicted on a federal case, the next step is to prepare for sentencing. The sentencing is done a few months after conviction. The trick here is that you will need to convince the same judge in charge of your trial to give you favorable sentencing. The judge utilizes several resources for guidance and assistance in sentencing a defendant. There are several set minimum and maximum sentences that the judges use to craft a criminal sentence. At this juncture, you will need superb legal representation. It’s also the perfect time to change lawyers if your lawyers’ ability did not match your expectations. A new lawyer may provide the fresh blood necessary for new legal perspectives and options. A conviction does not mean the end of the case because you need representation at the sentencing as the judge will also consider the statement when setting up your sentence.

Prepare your Arguments

You will need to make sound arguments about how long your sentence should be. However, it would be best not to ask the judge for sentences that fall below the sentencing guideline for your accused offense. You will need to portray your commitment to being a good citizen. A judge will consider if you have expressed regret for the committed crime when crafting a sentence.

Federal criminal appeals

Appeals do not refer to a new trial or rehearing of evidence, but rather it’s reviewing the court proceedings to ensure the law’s application was correct. If convinced that your federal case’s outcome was unfair due to legal errors, you should consider an appeal because it can be the saving grace you need. You can start working on acquiring the trial logs, starting from the presented opening statements to the time of the verdict’s reading. Your lawyer will help you submit a notice of appeal or briefings, or you may choose to work with new legal representation.
When adequately prepared, the appeal process can be relatively swift. You can have the process run smoothly for the best chance of getting your sentence overturned. A sentence may be reversed, altered, or the court of appeal may call for a new trial if it deems it necessary with a successful appeal.

Start putting your affairs in order

Upon conviction, you will need to prepare yourself because you may be transferred to a prison or holding facility immediately after sentencing. At the same time, some cases may give you time to set your affairs in order. If you have debts, you will need to arrange with the creditors on how to handle them. You may also need to end your lease to avoid having an eviction on your record. You can also consider sending some money to your prison account for use while incarcerated.


Getting convicted for a federal crime is an unpleasant thought. However, careful preparation for the scenario can help reduce the aftermath. If you get your affairs settled as you work on, the appeal process can help you through this trying time.

A criminal conviction of any kind can be devastating. People who are convicted of a serious crime such as a felonymay face all sorts of consequences. Felony convictions can bar people from entering certain professions and force them to surrender an existing professional license. Those who’ve been convicted of a federal crime may be facing additional penalties including years in prison and heavy fines. Hearing a guilty verdict can be astonishing and heartbreaking.

At the same time, now is the time to think about what’s going to happen next. If you are facing a conviction for a federal crime, you still have options within in the legal system. Now is the time to think about what you need to do immediately. While each case is different, in general anyone who’s been convicted should pay close attention to certain issues. You’ll want to think closely about making your case for the lowest possible sentence, considering the value of an appeal and perhaps even finding new legal counsel if you don’t feel you were served well by your current team.

The Sentencing Process
The sentencing process is hugely important. This is when you know how much time, if any, that you need to serve in prison. While judges need to act within certain guidelines, they are also free to add their own input based on their personal legal experience. When you go for sentencing, you’re going to be in front of the same judge who heard your case. This is the same person who listened to everything that was said including all legal evidence. If you’ve testified in front of them during them during the court trial, they may be familiar with your personality. You may have spent many hours in court watching their body language and hanging on to every word.

Now is the the time to work closely on your sentencing. At this point, if you haven’t spoken out before, you can speak in front of the judge and let them know more about you. You can tell them about your background, your education and what mistakes you might have made that led to this point. A conviction is a terrifying process. You may be feeling stunned in the aftermath of the verdict for weeks. At the same time, this hearing will give you an opportunity to plead your case in front an official with the power to determine course of the rest of your life. You’ll want to practice speaking calmly and controlling your emotions.

The Appeal
A conviction is not necessary the end of your hopes. Many defendants choose to appeal their sentences. This option is not open to you automatically if you have plead guilty. The appeals process lets higher court officials examine the ruling of the previous courts. Keep in mind that any appeal will not focus on your guilt or innocence. The concern is whether or not an error was made during your trial in some way. The judges are looking to see that you were given a fair trial and all evidence that might indicate that you are not guilty was allowed to be entered into the record.

You can appeal on many grounds including lack of evidence and the behavior of a judge during your trial. For example, if the judge was clearly biased or incompetent or simply did not follow the laws as given, you can use this to appeal the conviction. There is another basis in which you can use to appeal. That’s if you were not given the right legal counsel during the trial. Ineffective legal counsel can have many potentially serious ramifications. If your lawyer did not present evidence in your favor, failed to investigate promising leads, did not offer you the kind of advice you needed or generally acted incompetently in some way such as failing asleep during the trial or showing up having drank too much, this can also be grounds for appeal.

Another Point of View
In the aftermath of a conviction, it’s a good idea to see if a change in legal counsel might be a good idea. Even if you are pleased with your lawyer right now, it may be useful to get another perspective. Another legal perspective can look at your case with much needed fresh eyes. They can help you decide if there’s grounds for appeal and on what basis. They can also offer help with other matters related to the appeal. Some lawyers actually specialize in this particular area of law. Working closely with a new legal voice can help you and the judge in your case see things in a new even if you have been convicted. All such considerations can turn your case around and help you begin a whole new life.

An In-Depth Guide to Options After a Federal Crime Conviction

Facing a federal crime conviction can be a nightmarish experience, but knowing the options available to you can make all the difference in navigating this challenging time. In this exhaustive guide, we will explore what a federal crime is, what to do after being convicted, and how to make the most out of your legal options.

Understanding Federal Crimes

Federal crimes are criminal offenses that occur when the federal government is the victim or involve crossing state lines, such as tax evasion, mail tampering, identity theft, and child pornography. These types of offenses are typically handled by federal investigators and prosecutors, rather than state agencies.

Preparing for Sentencing After a Federal Crime Conviction

When you receive a guilty verdict in a federal case, it’s essential to prepare for sentencing. Sentencing occurs a few months after the conviction and may involve convincing the same judge who presided over your trial to give you a favorable sentence. Judges use a variety of resources, including minimum and maximum sentencing guidelines, to determine sentences for convicted individuals.

This stage presents a crucial opportunity to work with outstanding legal representation to advocate for your best interests. If you feel that your current lawyer has failed to live up to your expectations, consider recruiting a new attorney who can bring fresh perspectives and legal strategies to your case.

Presenting Your Arguments for an Appropriate Sentence

As you prepare for sentencing, you need to craft some convincing arguments on how long your sentence should be. This might include demonstrating your commitment to being a good citizen or expressing genuine remorse for your crime. Keep in mind, however, that requesting a sentence below the guideline for your offense may not work in your favor.

Exploring the Possibility of a Federal Criminal Appeal

Federal criminal appeals can potentially overturn, alter, or grant a new trial for your case if the appeal process reveals significant legal errors in the original court proceedings. Working with a skilled lawyer, you should carefully review trial logs to start building a strong appeal case.

An efficient and well-prepared appeal process, with the help of experienced legal representation, can be a life-changing opportunity to clear your name or reduce your sentence.

Organizing Your Affairs After a Federal Crime Conviction

In the event that your sentencing obliges you to withstand immediate incarceration, it’s vital to set your affairs in order beforehand. This may involve agreeing with creditors on debt repayment, terminating your lease to avoid eviction, or placing money in your prison account.


While a federal crime conviction is an intensely distressing event, obtaining sufficient knowledge about the available options and taking advantage of expert legal counsel can help you chart your way forward. By preparing for sentencing, exploring the appeals process, and organizing your affairs, you stand a better chance of mitigating the challenges of a federal crime conviction.

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