08 Jul 20

Federal Sentencing Guidelines

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Last Updated on: 4th August 2023, 06:38 pm

This is Not The End of the Road

If you or someone you love has received a guilty verdict, you may be of the belief that your fight for justice has come to the end of the road, but this is not so. The fact is you’re just beginning the battle for your freedom, and you’ll need an excellent federal attorney who understands the federal sentencing guidelines working on your behalf to make sure that you have the best shot at achieving your desired outcome, and to help you understand your legal options throughout the sentencing process. This phase of your case can feel confusing and overwhelming, but your lawyer will explain every step so you have the power to make informed decisions that will positively impact your future. If you are unsatisfied with the performance of your trial attorney, then you should take this opportunity to secure new representation and start working on your strategy for the next phase of your case. In the sentencing phase, the actual penalties for an offense will be determined.  This can be one of the most critical phases of a case. Don’t let the fact that you were convicted discourage you. A good lawyer could help you turn things around even at this stage.

What Are the United States Sentencing Guidelines?

The sentence you get should never be decided at random. The judge that hears your case is required to closely follow the federal sentencing guidelines in determining your punishment, barring extreme circumstances that may surround your particular case. The guidelines take several key factors into account, including the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal record.

US Sentencing Guidelines: The Severity of the Crime

For each criminal offense, there is a lowest level sentence that rises and falls depending on the details of your case. Adjustments are made with respect to the victim involved, your part in the crime, any obstruction of justice, and your acceptance of responsibility. Your attorney will carry you through the details and search for ways to help you receive the best result available.

US Sentencing Guidelines: Criminal History

Once the base level is established, your criminal record will be taken into account. Six categories of criminal history exist, the first being little to no criminal history and the sixth being an extensive record. Each increasing level of history will further enhance your sentence.

Federal Sentencing Guidelines Used to Determine Your Final Sentence

The calculation of your sentence range involves adding the base level and subtracting or adding, depending on offense, the characteristics and your criminal history. When the judge arrives at the range within which your sentence must fall, he or she will then determine what exactly your punishment should be.  The judge is also responsible for explaining how he or she reached that conclusion in writing. While judges are obligated to do these calculations, they are not technically obligated to adhere to the guidelines. Because the guidelines are merely advisory, having a seasoned defense attorney fighting on your behalf is extremely important. He or she could potentially convince the judge that you should get a lesser punishment, making it easier for you to live a better life after a criminal conviction. In addition, a skilled lawyer can help you challenge instances in which a judge strays too far from the sentencing guidelines