24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196

AS SEEN ON

EXPERIENCEDTop Rated

YOU MAY HAVE SEEN TODD SPODEK ON THE NETFLIX SHOW
INVENTING ANNA

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.

Federal Criminal Defense FAQ: Answers to Common Sentencing Questions

Federal Criminal Defense FAQ: Answers to Common Sentencing Questions

Facing federal criminal charges can be an incredibly stressful and scary experience. You likely have a lot of questions about the process and what comes next if you are found guilty. This article answers some of the most common questions people have about federal criminal sentencing to help you understand what to expect.

What is the process for federal criminal sentencing?

The sentencing process actually starts before you are ever found guilty. After you are charged, a federal probation officer will conduct a pre-sentence investigation and prepare a report that makes sentencing recommendations to the judge. This report looks at factors like your criminal history, the circumstances of the offense, your financial situation, your family obligations and more.Once you either plead guilty or are found guilty at trial, the court will schedule a sentencing hearing. At the hearing, the judge will announce and explain your sentence. Unless you receive probation, you will be taken into custody that same day to start serving your sentence.

How much prison time can I face for a federal conviction?

Federal sentences tend to be longer than state sentences for similar crimes. The amount of prison time you face depends on the crime you are convicted of. Some federal crimes like drug trafficking or firearms charges carry mandatory minimum sentences. For example, selling over 5 grams of crack cocaine means you face at least 5 years in prison. Other crimes have sentencing guidelines that judges typically follow. You can face up to 20 years or more in federal prison for many types of fraud. Your criminal history also impacts your potential sentence.

What is the role of the federal sentencing guidelines?

While no longer mandatory, federal judges still closely consider the complex sentencing guidelines when determining appropriate sentences. The guidelines provide a sentencing range based on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history. So they are an important factor, but judges can sentence above or below the range if they find aggravating or mitigating factors.

How does having a criminal record impact my sentence?

Your criminal history has a significant impact on your guideline range and can double your sentence or more compared to a defendant with no record. Every prior conviction adds criminal history points, moving you into higher categories that increase the sentencing range. If you have prior felonies or committed the current offense while on probation or parole, you will face even tougher sentencing.

What are mandatory minimum sentences?

Some federal laws like those covering certain drug, gun, pornography and terrorism offenses carry mandatory minimum sentences. This is a legal requirement for the judge to sentence you to at least a certain number of years in prison if convicted. For example, carrying a gun while trafficking drugs carries a 5 year mandatory minimum. Mandatory minimums give judges little flexibility or discretion at sentencing.

What factors increase my chances of getting probation?

Judges have the ability to sentence certain offenders to federal probation instead of prison. The best chances at probation come with very minor crimes, no criminal record, taking responsibility by pleading guilty, having a steady job and support system like family willing to help monitor your probation. Certain offenders like drug addicts may qualify for special probation with required treatment.

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.

Can the judge sentence me above or below the guideline range?

Yes, while judges consider the federal sentencing guidelines, they are not mandatory. The judge can go above or below the guideline range if they find aggravating factors that warrant a higher sentence or mitigating factors that justify a reduced sentence. However, there are limitations on how far they can deviate with mandatory minimums creating a “floor” they cannot go below.

What kinds of things might make my sentence longer?

Judges can consider aggravating factors like the amount of planning that went into the crime, using violence or weapons, playing an organizing role in the offense, having a lengthy criminal history and prior lenient sentences that did not deter you from more crime. Also, committing the offense while released on bail or probation from another crime frequently leads to a longer sentence.

What kinds of things might make my sentence shorter?

Mitigating factors like playing a minor role in the offense, acting under coercion or duress, having severe mental health or addiction issues, taking responsibility and pleading guilty, providing substantial assistance to prosecutors, having serious medical issues and needing care for dependents are all things judges can consider to lower a sentence below the guidelines. Remorse and good behavior after the offense also helps.

What should I do to prepare for sentencing?

Having an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer guide you through the process is essential to get the lowest possible sentence. Provide them documentation verifying any mitigating factors as early as possible. Submitting quality reference letters from employers, teachers, family can help show the judge the full picture. Be prepared to sincerely take responsibility and show remorse. Never make excuses or try to justify illegal behavior at sentencing if you want any chance at a lenient sentence.

Can I appeal my sentence if I feel it is unfair?

Yes, you can appeal your conviction and sentence to a higher federal court. However, appeals courts give great deference to trial judges on sentencing matters and rarely overturn sentences that fall within the guideline range. Still, if there are clear legal errors in calculating the guidelines or failing to properly weigh the sentencing factors, bringing certain issues up on appeal may lead to a reduced sentence.Facing federal charges puts your future at risk. Having an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer fighting for you every step and guiding you through the complex process provides the best chance at avoiding harsh punishment. Be proactive in presenting mitigating factors and show sincere remorse at sentencing. While federal sentences tend to be rigid, following your lawyer’s advice puts you in the best position for the judge to show some leniency.

References:

1

 https://federal-lawyer.com/florida/

2

 https://federalcriminaldefense.pro/federal-crimes/federal-charges/

3

 https://federalcriminallawcenter.com/2015/11/steps-to-prepare-your-defense-against-federal-criminal-charges/

4

 https://jpcannonlawfirm.com/2020/01/19-free-tips-for-federal-sentencing/

5

 https://toplawyer.law/criminal-defense-strategies/

Schedule Your Consultation Now