What Does a Federal Conviction Mean?
Federal court is not like the State of New York court. A felony drug charge in New York drug court will be prosecuted under different laws and guidelines compared to a drug conspiracy case being prosecuted in U.S. District Court.
In the past, the sentencing guidelines for convictions in federal court were mandatory and predetermined, with very little room for any deviation from the guidelines.
On June 12, 2005, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the sentencing guidelines are now "advisory" rather than fixed.
New York Felony Charges Defense Lawyer
Because federal sentencing guidelines are no longer mandatory, it is even more important that an experienced attorney is by your side during plea negotiations. In the past, the judges followed the guidelines strictly. Today, they can adjust the sentences either downward or upward based on the circumstances.
At DeRoberts Law Firm, our attorney has been handling criminal defense in federal court since 1993. Attorney DeRoberts is thoroughly familiar with the sentencing guidelines and will work so that any plea negotiation on your behalf has the best result possible.
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Understanding the Federal Sentencing Guidelines
The federal guidelines, used as advisory guidelines by the judge, are a complex formula. They include several factors:
- The type of crime committed
- Any injuries to victims
- The defendant's criminal history
The crime is awarded points based on the crime itself and the circumstances surrounding it. The points, combined with the defendant's criminal history, will determine a range of months for a jail or prison sentence.
For example, if someone was convicted of marijuana possession (50 kilograms), which was sold over the Internet, but the defendant has no criminal record other than a speeding ticket. This may give the defendant a total of 22 points for the crime and a criminal history level of I. Those two factors would dictate a sentence of 41-51 months.