It is important to understand that a conviction for a federal crime brings along with it a sentencing structure that is fairly rigid. The federal sentencing scheme is based on highly technical statutes that equate certain levels and minimum mandatory sentences based on the type of crime you are charged with. It is a good idea to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer about these sentencing guidelines, as they can be difficult to understand.
At Moses and Rooth Attorneys at Law, our Orlando criminal defense attorneys know the federal sentencing guidelines. This knowledge enables our team to provide you with comprehensive, straightforward representation and legal advice, which then helps you make informed decisions about your federal criminal defense strategy.
Judicial Discretion and Federal Sentencing Guidelines
In general, there are two aspects to the federal sentencing guidelines: mandatory minimum sentencing and other criminal consequences. When it comes to mandatory minimum sentences, judges have discretion to sentence a convicted individual to any period of time that is equal to or greater than the minimum stated in the statute. A judge cannot provide a lesser sentence.
For other criminal consequences stated in the guidelines, including monetary fines, federal judges do have the ability go above or below the stated guideline depending on a variety of factors, including:
- The individual’s conduct
- The individual’s personal characteristics
- The seriousness of the offense
- The individual’s education and work history
- The need for a deterrent
Judicial discretion is highly limited in federal cases. For this reason, it is important to hire a knowledgeable, dedicated defense lawyer who can advocate on your behalf to have your charges reduced or, in some cases, thrown out prior to trial. If you are facing federal charges for a white collar crime such as embezzlement, a drug crime such as cocaine trafficking or any other federal crime, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.