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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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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