Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.
Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.
Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.
Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.
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Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 10:09 am
Getting charged with a federal crime can be scary. Even if it’s your first offense, you may be worried about whether you’ll end up in prison. As a defense attorney who regularly represents people facing federal charges, I’m here to provide some insight.
There’s no simple yes or no answer to whether you’ll go to prison for a first federal offense. Federal sentencing is complex, but here’s a quick overview:
So while the guidelines often recommend prison for first offenses, there are still opportunities in some cases to avoid it. An experienced federal criminal defense lawyer can help advocate for a more lenient sentence.
Federal sentences depend on the details of each case. Some key factors judges consider include:
These are just some of the main factors judges look at. The sentencing guidelines account for many of them through a point system that determines your guideline range.
Some federal laws require mandatory minimum prison terms for convictions. This means judges must impose at least the minimum sentence, regardless of sentencing guidelines. Examples include:
These laws limit judges’ discretion. But mandatory minimums don’t apply to every federal crime. And there are still ways defense lawyers can try avoiding them through plea negotiations.
Even when facing serious charges or mandatory minimums, experienced federal defense attorneys can craft strong defenses to fight the case. Some possible defenses include:
Raising doubts about the prosecution’s case and your level of culpability can persuade the judge to impose a lighter sentence. But the earlier you hire a lawyer to start building your defense, the better.
The bottom line is there are many ways for first-time offenders to potentially avoid or minimize prison sentences for federal crimes. But it takes an aggressive and experienced federal criminal defense lawyer fighting for you every step of the way. Don’t wait until after you’re charged – consult with a lawyer as soon as you learn you’re under federal investigation.
I hope this overview gives you a better understanding of the federal sentencing process. Every case is different, with its own risks and chances to reduce penalties. If you or a loved one are facing federal charges, I encourage you to contact me for a free case evaluation and to discuss defenses tailored to your unique circumstances.
John Smith is a former federal prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer. He represents clients facing federal charges nationwide. Mr. Smith graduated from Harvard Law School and previously served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in California. He has obtained numerous acquittals and favorable plea deals for his clients over his 20 year career.
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