Many lawyers are experienced at handling cases in state court, however if charges are brought in federal court it is imperative that you have a attorney that is familiar with federal laws, the rules of evidence, as well as the Federal Sentencing Act and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. In each case, we make every effort to prevent federal charges from being filed and have experience negotiating with federal prosecutors.
The Federal Sentencing System
The federal sentencing system is very complicated. In 1984 the Congress passed the Federal Sentencing Act, which provided a complicated set of formulas resulting in a sentencing guideline for the United States District Court when faced with a defendant who has either pled guilty or been found guilty at trial.
Simply stated, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines provide mathematical formulas for determining a category for each defendant. In turn, the category sets forth the range of months which the guidelines recommend. Certain factors permit additions or subtractions from the range of sentencing if they are factually present. Finally, there are reasons set forth in the sentencing code to permit a United States District Judge to depart from the sentencing guidelines, either downward or upward, when determining the sentence for a particular defendant.
Blakely v. Washington
In 2004, the United States Supreme court ruled in Blakely v. Washington, that judges must adhere to the U.S Constitution’s provision regarding the right to a trial by jury when increasing the length of a sentence. A judge cannot unilaterally determine that the crimes committed were particularly egregious, and thereby cannot unilaterally increase the sentence dictated by the Federal sentencing guidelines.
Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys
Often federal cases are more difficult to win. Generally federal prosecutors do not bring charges unless they have a solid case. We understand what our clients are up against. When it is in our client’s best interest, we negotiate with federal prosecutor in an effort to reduce charges and avoid the harsh mandatory sentences provided for by the federal sentencing system. When in court, we may be able to successfully argue your case resulting in an acceptable disposition.