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Can Playing a Minor Role in a Federal Criminal Sentencing Help You?

By Spodek Law Group | November 2, 2021
(Last Updated On: March 13, 2023)

Last Updated on: 13th March 2023, 03:21 pm

Understanding Federal Sentencing Guidelines

When someone commits a federal crime, the federal courts must follow the federal sentencing guidelines set by the United States Sentencing Commission. These guidelines give prosecutors the power to recommend a fine or prison sentence. However, the guidelines are often wide, which allows for a defendant’s lawyer to argue for a shorter prison term, smaller fine, or both, especially if the defendant played a minor role in the crime.

What Qualifies as a Minor Role in a Federal Crime?

The definition of a minor role is determined by the judge in a federal crime case. For instance, a person who pays for gas knowing that the car will be used in a bank robbery, or someone who provides disposable phone SIM cards for an extensive drug ring, might qualify as a minor participant.

Types of Assistance Provided By Defendants

After being arrested and charged with a federal crime, a defendant may be encouraged by their attorney to cooperate with investigators and provide information that could lead to a reduced sentence. This could include written or oral testimony about the crimes of others, the provision of evidence, or the location of additional evidence.

Prosecutors Can Request a Shorter Sentence

When a defendant provides “substantial assistance” to the federal government in convicting those who played a major role in a crime, prosecutors can request a “5K letter.” This letter asks the judge to reduce the defendant’s sentence. However, there is no obligation on the prosecutor’s part to write the letter, and the judge makes the final decision.

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Requesting a 5K Letter

If a defendant who played a minor role in a crime wishes to receive a shorter prison term or smaller fine, their lawyer must negotiate a deal and get it in writing. The prosecutor may decide that the defendant’s assistance wasn’t substantial enough to merit a shorter sentence, and there is always a possibility that the prosecutor won’t send the letter, which could result in the defendant receiving the maximum sentence.

What Judges Consider When Sentencing a Defendant

Judges have a lot of discretion when it comes to sentencing, and they take several factors into consideration. For instance, they may look at the defendant’s criminal history, the nature of the crime, the defendant’s age, health, and family circumstances.

Appealing an Unreasonable Sentence

If a defendant receives an unreasonable sentence, they have the option to appeal with the help of a criminal defense attorney. However, what constitutes an unreasonable sentence is subjective, and it can vary depending on the circumstances of the case.

At Spodek Law Group, our experienced attorneys have a deep understanding of the law and the federal sentencing guidelines. Attorney Todd Spodek has a proven track record of defending clients and achieving positive outcomes. We use emotionally charged language and show, don’t tell language to convey our message effectively. Our professionalism and expertise allow us to handle even the most complex legal situations.

Factors Considered by Judges When Sentencing Defendants
Criminal history
Nature of the crime
Age, health, and family circumstances of the defendant

We understand that facing federal charges can be an emotionally charged and overwhelming experience. That’s why we’re committed to providing our clients with the support and representation they need.

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If you’ve been accused of a federal crime, it’s important to act quickly and hire an attorney with experience in federal criminal defense. At Spodek Law Group, we have the expertise to navigate the complexities of federal law and build a strong defense strategy for our clients.

When you work with us, you can rest assured that your case will be handled with the utmost professionalism and care. We understand that your future is at stake, and we’ll work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Whether you’re facing charges for drug crimes, white-collar crimes, or any other federal offense, our team is here to help. We’ll use our experience and knowledge of the law to defend your rights and protect your interests.

Trust Spodek Law Group for Your Federal Criminal Defense Needs

At Spodek Law Group, we’re committed to providing our clients with the highest level of legal representation. Our attorneys have the skills and experience necessary to handle even the most complex federal cases.

Attorney Todd Spodek is a trusted name in the legal community, with a reputation for achieving favorable outcomes for his clients. He’s been recognized for his legal expertise by numerous publications, including Super Lawyers and Avvo.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help with your federal criminal defense needs.

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