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




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.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Amendment 821?

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Amendment 821?

Deciding whether to hire a lawyer can be a tough call, especially when dealing with something as complex as a federal sentencing amendment. I’m here to walk you through the pros and cons so you can make the best decision for your situation.

First off, what is this Amendment 821 I keep hearing about? Essentially, it’s a change to the federal sentencing guidelines that could allow some federal inmates to get their sentences reduced. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to approve the amendment on August 24, 2023.
  • It introduces a new section to the guidelines giving certain low-level, first time offenders a two-level decrease in their offense level.
  • This could result in lower guideline ranges for around 11,000 current federal inmates.
  • The Commission also voted to apply the change retroactively, with an effective date of February 1, 2024.

That February date is key – it’s when current federal inmates can start petitioning courts to get their sentences reduced under the new amendment. But should you hire a lawyer to help with that process?

Pros of Hiring an Amendment 821 Lawyer

There are some solid reasons why having a lawyer could really help if you or a loved one wants to seek a reduced sentence under Amendment 821:

  • Navigating the process. Petitioning for resentencing can be complicated, with lots of legal filings and deadlines. A lawyer knows how to navigate all the requirements.
  • Determining eligibility. The amendment doesn’t automatically reduce everyone’s sentence. Your lawyer can analyze your case and advise if you meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Building the best argument. Even if you’re eligible, your lawyer still has to persuade the judge to exercise discretion and lower your sentence. An experienced attorney can develop the strongest case.
  • Avoiding pitfalls. Resentencing petitions aren’t always smooth sailing. A lawyer can help sidestep potential pitfalls that could derail your request.
  • Managing expectations. Your lawyer can provide an honest assessment of your odds and potential sentence reduction – so you don’t get false hopes up.

Having an expert in your corner could really maximize your chances of succeeding with an Amendment 821 petition.

Cons of Hiring an Amendment 821 Lawyer

Of course, there are also some reasons you may want to think twice about hiring counsel:

  • Cost. Lawyers aren’t cheap, and resentencing cases can drag on. Make sure you understand the potential costs upfront.
  • DIY resentencing. Some inmates have successfully petitioned for relief under other retroactive amendments without a lawyer.
  • Non-guaranteed outcome. Even with a great lawyer, there’s no guarantee a judge will agree to reduce your sentence.
  • Research required. You’ll still have to dig up case files, sentencing records, and other documents for your lawyer.
  • Strict eligibility. If it’s clear you don’t qualify under the amendment, a lawyer may not change that.

For simple cases where eligibility isn’t in doubt, you may be able to petition successfully without an attorney. But for more complex situations, having experienced counsel in your corner can be invaluable.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
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
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
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
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
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
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
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
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
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.

Key Questions to Consider

Here are some important things to think about as you decide whether to hire an Amendment 821 lawyer:

  • How long is your current sentence, and how much of a reduction are you hoping for? The stakes are higher for inmates with lengthy sentences.
  • Are there any complicating factors in your case, like mandatory minimums, sentencing enhancements, or prior petitions? Those could require more legal expertise to navigate.
  • Do you have the time and ability to research case law, meet filing deadlines, and handle all the paperwork yourself while incarcerated?
  • Can you afford quality legal representation? Shop around, as attorney fees can vary widely.

Carefully weighing factors like these can help you make the best decision for your situation.

How to Find a Qualified Amendment 821 Lawyer

If you decide to hire counsel, make sure you choose someone truly qualified for federal resentencing cases. Here are some tips:

  • Look for a lawyer with specific experience handling retroactive guideline amendment petitions – not just any criminal defense attorney.
  • Find someone familiar with the federal court district where you were sentenced, as local practices vary.
  • Ask about the lawyer’s track record with sentence reduction requests – don’t just take their word that they’re skilled in this area.
  • Be wary of lawyers making unrealistic promises or guarantees. There are no sure things with resentencing.
  • Talk to multiple attorneys and compare credentials, experience, fees, and client reviews.

Taking time to vet counsel carefully gives you the greatest chance of finding someone to strongly advocate your case.

Alternatives to Hiring an Amendment 821 Lawyer

If you want legal help but can’t afford a private attorney, there may be some options:

  • Look into non-profit legal aid organizations that assist inmates with post-conviction relief.
  • See if a law school clinic near where you’re incarcerated can provide pro bono representation.
  • Ask the judge to appoint counsel to assist you (though this is rare in non-capital cases).
  • See if the public defender who handled your original case might help.

While not guaranteed, exploring alternatives like these could potentially find you low-cost or free legal assistance.

The Bottom Line on Amendment 821 Lawyers

Here’s my take as someone with experience on the inside:

Get a lawyer on your side if you can. With thousands expected to seek relief under Amendment 821, having an expert guide you through the complexities is extremely helpful. They know how to avoid potential pitfalls and give you the best shot at a reduced sentence.

That said, if the stakes are low or your case is straightforward, going the DIY route may be feasible. But talk to an attorney first to get their honest opinion – a small consultation fee could save you time and headache.

Finding quality affordable representation may take some digging. But be persistent and keep all your options open. Where there’s a will, there’s often a way.

Don’t pin all your hopes on Amendment 821. Temper expectations, as even with a lawyer, disappointment is possible. But the potential reward of even a modest reduction may make the effort worthwhile.

Stay positive and keep looking forward. One way or another, this too shall pass. Keep your eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel.

Hope this gives you a good jumping-off point for thinking about hiring an Amendment 821 lawyer. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Schedule Your Consultation Now