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

Finding out that you’ve been convicted of a federal crime is a difficult experience. Hearing that you’ve been found guilty is something that no one wants to go through. While the verdict has already been decided following a conviction, you do still have a few options.

Once You’ve Been Convicted

While a conviction with a guilty verdict feels very final, your time in court hasn’t ended. After a conviction, you should be prepared to do three things:

  • Prepare for Sentencing: After you’ve been convicted, you will be sentenced. During your sentencing, you will appear in front of the judge. It is at this point that you will explain why you deserve to receive the lowest sentence available.

    Even with a conviction, your work isn’t done. In order to receive the most ideal sentence, you and your attorney will need to put together a strong case as to why the judge should be lenient with you. Many people that get a guilty verdict with one lawyer may want to choose a different attorney for the sentencing. If this is the case in your situation, be sure to do that now.

  • Prepare for the Appeal: If you plan to appeal the guilty verdict, now is the time to contact the lawyer that you want to appeal for you.
  • Order the Trial Transcripts: If you plan to appeal your verdict, you’ll need to be well prepared. One of the most important ways to prepare for an appeal is to go over the trial transcripts with your legal counsel. The sooner the transcripts from the trial are made, the sooner your appeal will be approved or denied with the court of appeals.

What to Expect at a Sentencing

Sentencing usually takes place 90 days after an individual is convicted. Before the sentencing takes place, the judge will calculate the range for the applicable guidelines. These Sentencing Guidelines are rules that apply to federal sentencing. These guidelines are meant to advise the judge as they consider the sentence.

The Guidelines are defined in a chart that is split into two parts:

  • The Offense Level: This defines how serious an offense is. This is determined by certain factors in a case. Typically, the offense level decreases based on an individual’s “acceptance of responsibility”.
  • Prior Criminal History: An individual is given “points” for each prior conviction. The more serious the conviction, the more points an individual will receive. If a conviction occurred over 10 or 15 years ago, they may not be counted.

Once these factors have been determined by the judge, you will receive your sentencing range. This range will be a certain number of months. For example, if the judge calculates a range between 24 and 30 months, that judge must at least consider giving a sentence that falls within this range. However, it is up to the judge to determine whether they will give a lower or higher sentence.

For certain situations, congress sets a mandatory minimum sentence. The judge will not be allowed to choose a sentence that is shorter than this amount of time. Likewise, a judge can’t impose that an individual serve a sentence that is higher than what the law has established is the maximum sentence.

The Presentence Report

Before you are sentenced, you will be given an interview so that the probation officer can conduct the presentence report or PSR. In this interview, it is important to answer questions honestly. This interview will inform what the probation officer writes in the report. Once finalized, the PSR is given to the judge as a recommendation for your sentencing.

The Sentencing Hearing

On the day of the sentencing, all parties should have received their copy of the PSR. The PSR must be sent out (at the latest) 35 days before the sentencing date. The defense counsel would have sent a written submission to the judge to explain the issues that the judge should consider.

Right before the sentencing, the judge must give the dependent the opportunity to speak. After listening to both parties, the sentence will be announced.

If you have been convicted of a federal crime, you still have options. Contact an attorney today to see how they can best help you.

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Manhattan

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New York, NY 10005

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Queens

35-37 36th St,
Astoria, NY 11106

Phone

888-977-6335

Brooklyn

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14th Floor,
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Phone

888-977-6335