This is the next post in my series on the handling of federal charges in the Southern District of Texas. My last article discussed how to deal with expert witnesses in federal cases. It is important to remember that dealing with expert witnesses can sometimes be confusing but necessary in federal cases. You should immediately contact an attorney if you or a family member have been arrested. Charges brought in Federal Court involve different rules and procedures than State Court cases. Not all attorneys are licensed to practice in Federal Court, so it is recommended that you ask your attorney about their experience in handling such cases. This article will help you better understand the federal sentencing guidelines. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my office online or by telephone today.
Judges refer to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to determine the appropriate punishment for federal defendants
Federal judges refer to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Federal Sentencing Guidelines when deciding punishments for convicted defendants. These guidelines outline uniform sentencing policies based on certain variables. The guidelines take into account the type of charges, the severity of the crime, and whether someone plead guilty or not, among other considerations. There are both aggravating factors, which could increase a defendant’s penalty, and mitigating factors, which could decrease it. Typically, criminal statutes themselves outline the specific factors that result in harsher punishments. However, sentences can also depend on the circumstances of the crime, such as whether the defendant used a weapon or the injuries suffered by a victim. A defendant’s criminal history can also be taken into account when sentencing. If the defendant is a repeat offender, this may result in a harsher punishment. Similarly, a lack of criminal history can be a mitigating factor which may lead to a less severe punishment. Other mitigating factors may include the culpability of the victim, mental or physical illness, genuine remorse, and more.
It should be highlighted that federal judges are not required to follow the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. While most typically use the guidelines when sentencing, they have the discretion to impose a harsher or lighter sentence. There are some charges, such as certain drug crimes, that have mandatory minimum sentences. Federal judges may not sentence individuals below the required minimum in most of these types of cases. However, when no mandatory minimum is imposed, judges may use their discretion in sentencing as long as it is reasonable. This means that judges may go outside the specified range if they believe the punishment would be too harsh or not harsh enough.
It is important to retain an attorney immediately if you or a loved one are facing federal charges in the Southern District Of Texas
Each federal case is unique, and sentencing will be dependent on the applicable facts. Federal rules are also extremely complex and can be confusing for many people. As a result, it is incredibly important to contact an attorney that has experience dealing with such matters. Failing to seek professional assistance when faced with federal criminal charges could negatively impact your case. Federal lawyers are skilled at advocating for their clients to receive the shortest sentence possible.
I am a Laredo federal defense lawyer who is licensed to practice in the Southern District of Texas. I am experienced in handling cases where judges apply the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. My office prides itself on providing a high level of service and takes pride in providing the highest level of service to clients. I will stay in regular communication with you throughout the process and ensure I am available to answer your questions. Contact my office online or by telephone today.