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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Getting charged with a federal crime in Queens can be an intimidating and confusing experience. You may be wondering how federal sentencing guidelines could impact the prison term you may face if convicted. This article provides an overview of key things to know.
The federal sentencing guidelines were created in the 1980s to standardize sentences across the country. They provide a complex formula to calculate a recommended sentencing range based on the conviction offense and the defendant’s criminal history.While they were originally mandatory, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Booker that they are now only advisory. However, judges still closely consider them in determining sentences.The guidelines focus heavily on the monetary losses and quantities involved in financial and drug crimes. The more money lost or drugs possessed, the higher the guideline range quickly becomes.
The guidelines have faced substantial criticism over the years as being overly harsh and leading to unfairly long sentences for many non-violent offenders.For example, the huge sentencing ranges for economic crimes based predominantly on dollar amounts have been called into question. The American Bar Association has even called for a complete overhaul of the economic crime guidelines.There is also bipartisan support for reforms, especially for low-level drug offenses. The guidelines often recommend sentences many feel are unnecessary and counterproductive for positive rehabilitation.
The guidelines can have a dramatic impact on the recommended prison term for white collar crimes like fraud and embezzlement.Under the guidelines, sentences quickly escalate based predominantly on the total financial loss involved. Even small frauds under $6,500 start at 0-6 months under the guidelines.
The sentencing ranges continue increasing rapidly into decades in prison for losses in the millions of dollars.However, judges have moved toward less rigid adherence to guidelines in major fraud cases. And critics argue non-violent white-collar offenders often don’t need such long sentences to serve justice or deter future misconduct.
Providing “substantial assistance” is one way defendants can get below mandatory minimums and guidelines at sentencing.This typically involves providing information to investigators about other people involved in criminal activities. Prosecutors may then file a “5K1.1 letter” asking the judge for a reduced sentence based on the cooperation.Sentences can also potentially be reduced after sentencing if additional assistance is provided. However, it’s a risky strategy that depends on the value of information provided.
Getting below stiff federal mandatory minimum sentences often requires an aggressive defense strategy focused on uncovering weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.While charges themselves may not be defeatable, experienced NYC defense lawyers understand how to build arguments for mitigating penalties under the safety valve, affirmative defenses, and other legal provisions.
Harsh sentencing enhancements apply under New York law for crimes committed as part of a criminal street gang. Prosecutors must prove:
Merely being in a gang is not enough. Wearing colors or flashing signs does not necessarily make an offense gang-related either.
While the guidelines may recommend substantial prison time, experienced attorneys can present compelling arguments for alternative sentences in appropriate cases through:
Sentencing judges have discretion in considering factors like age, mental health, addiction, and family circumstances. Non-prison alternatives like home confinement, treatment programs, or community service may meet the justice goals of punishment in certain cases.
Facing federal charges can be overwhelming. But an experienced Queens federal criminal defense lawyer can help navigate the complex sentencing guidelines and build the most effective strategy to mitigate penalties if convicted.Don’t leave your fate to chance. Schedule a free case evaluation today to discuss your best options.
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