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Indictments for white-collar crimes are often federal.  Conviction may carry immense legal, personal, and professional implications. Potential federal prison sentence, along with restitution amounts, have the potential to be more severe in federal courts.

When it comes to white-collar cases, the issues related to sentencing are complex and require knowledge of relevant caselaw and the federal sentencing guidelines. United States Sentencing Guidelines, (USSG).

Federal Sentencing Guidelines

The United States Sentencing Commission created the United States Sentencing Guidelines, (USSG). The guidelines are geared to eliminate disparity in sentencing for the same offense in different courts throughout the country.

These guidelines establish factors that are applied to calculate the offense level of a crime. Along with your prior criminal record, the offense level and any relevant conduct is used to determine a range on the Sentencing Table.

Federal Sentencing Table

The Sentencing Table is a grid that lays out the potential sentences in terms of months of imprisonment. Until 2005, these guidelines were mandatory, meaning that the judges had no discretion. However, in United States v. Booker the Supreme Court decided that the ranges were no longer mandatory.

Instead, judges now make a preliminary guideline using offense level and criminal history. 18 U.S.C Section 3553 (a) contains other factors that are also considered in the calculation. These include:

  • The nature of the offense and the circumstances around it, as well as the defendant’s history and characteristics
  • The need for the sentence imposed
    1. Judges take into consideration the seriousness of the offense, the promotion of respect for the law, and just punishment for the offense
    2. Affording adequate deterrence to criminal conduct
    3. Protecting the public from the potential of further crimes committed by the defendant
    4. Providing necessary educational or vocational training, medical care, or other correctional treatment in the most effective manner.
  • The types of sentences available
  • The types of sentences and the sentencing range established for the applicable category of offense committed by the applicable category of defendant as set forth in the guidelines.
  • Any relevant policy statements.
[Related: Choosing a Criminal Defense Lawyer]

Federal Conviction Policies

Conviction for federal crimes may carry harsher penalties and fines because of statutory mandatory minimums or due to high sentencing guideline recommendations.o

However, if there is no mandatory minimum, since Booker, federal sentencing guidelines are no longer mandatory. Still, federal judges impose the recommended guideline range sentences a significant percentage of the time. Furthermore, the government may seek restitution, fines, and or/forfeiture of assets depending upon the nature of the case.

Federal Criminal Lawyer

The penalties for federal crimes can be severe and we have experience handling federal criminal matter ranging from petty offenses to capital charges.  If you are facing federal criminal charges, contact King Campbell Poretz Mitchell and let our experienced attorneys help you.  We have extensive knowledge of federal sentencing guidelines and will fight to protect your rights.

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