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When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

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

When a person commits and is convicted of a federal crime, the federal courts must follow the federal sentencing guidelines. The United States Sentencing Commission is the authority tasked with setting these guidelines. In most cases, these guidelines are wide. This gives prosecutors wide berth for making recommendations to a judge or a jury for a fine or prison sentence. When a person plays a minor role in a federal crime and cooperates with the federal authorities investigating the case, there is plenty of latitude for the defendant’s lawyer to argue for a shorter prison term, smaller fine or a combination of these.

What Is a Minor Role in a Crime?

Judges have the authority to determine what a minor role is in a federal crime. A few examples of a minor role in a crime might include a person who pays for fuel for a car when they know that car will be used in the robbery of a bank. A minor role may be a person who provides SIM cards for disposable phones used in an extensive drug ring.

Types of Assistance Provided By a Defendant

When a person is arrested and charged with a federal crime, detectives and investigators will speak with them after reading them their rights. A person always has the right to refuse to speak or to ask their attorney to be present during the discussion. An attorney may counsel their defendant to cooperate and provide helpful information in order to potentially reduce their criminal sentence. This advice is often given if the federal government has enough evidence to convict the defendant regardless of their cooperation. A defendant may provide written or oral testimony of the crimes of others. They may provide evidence or tell the prosecutors where additional evidence may be found. They may also give the names of others who were involved in the crime.

What Prosecutors Do to Request a Shorter Federal Sentence

When a cooperative person works with authorities to secure the conviction of those who played a major role in a federal crime, the prosecutors write what is called a “5K letter.” The 5K letter comes from the language in the United States Sentencing Guidelines 5K1. 1. It states that the prosecutor has the authority to ask the judge in a federal crime case to substantially lower the cooperative participant’s sentence if the defendant provided “substantial assistance” to the federal government. The judge decides if the defendant meets the definition of substantial assistance.

Requesting a 5K Letter

A prosecutor has no obligation to write a 5K letter to the judge in a federal case. If a defendant who played a minor role worked out a deal to provide information in exchange for a request of a shorter prison term or smaller fine, their lawyer needs to get this deal in writing. Both parties need to keep their end of the bargain in order for the letter to be sent. Even if the defendant provides what they feel is substantial assistance to the federal prosecutor, the prosecutor might decide that the assistance wasn’t that helpful after all. If the prosecutor fails to prosecute the major defendants in the case, the defendant accused of the minor crime may be out of luck. The prosecutor might not send the letter, and they would face the possibility of a maximum sentence under the federal sentencing guidelines.

What a Judge Considers When Sentencing a Defendant

The federal sentencing guidelines provide judges with a lot of discretion for sentencing. Judges consider several factors when handing a sentence to a convicted individual. One factor is the individual’s criminal history. If this was their first time being charged with and convicted of a crime, the judge may be more easily convinced by a defense attorney to deliver a reasonable sentence. The nature of the crime is another consideration. Violent crimes, even if the defendant played a minor role in them, often come with a longer prison term. Judges may also consider the defendant’s age, health and family circumstances when determining the sentence for a federal crime.

Appealing an Unreasonable Sentence

If a prosecutor doesn’t send a 5K letter or if the judge receives but ignores the letter, a defendant who played a minor role in a federal crime still has legal options at their disposal. A criminal defense attorney may file an appeal on their behalf, especially if the sentence is unreasonable. However, what is “unreasonable” is often subjective. For example, it may be unreasonable to sentence an 85-year-old great-grandmother to 50 years in prison for giving a ride to a person who robs an FDIC-insured bank. However, the court may not find the same sentence to be unreasonable for a 30-year-old person with a past criminal record.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
2024-03-18
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
2024-02-28
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
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