Sentencing (general) strategies in Federal Court

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9th Sep 2016

Because a vast majority of people charged in Federal Court are before a judge to be sentenced, as opposed to going to trial, the sentencing hearing is the critical aspect of the representation.

If a person is facing a sentence, the first thing that happens is a report written by the probation department called a “Pre Sentence Investigation Report”. This acts as an advisory opinion to the judge and may determine what the client faces under the federal sentencing guidelines. These guidelines may be a matter of interpretation since there are different ways to calculate them.

If the parties all agree to what the guidelines are then it may not be possible to go outside the guidelines to the client’s advantage. The best that the defense lawyer can do is argue for the low end of the sentencing guidelines . A better way to argue in a sentencing , if possible, is for the criminal defense lawyer to argue for the lowest sentence, despite the guideline range. This is referred to as asking for a “downward departure” or “variance” from the applicable sentencing guidelines. This is done because I want to argue for the lowest possible sentence that I client can get and that the court will allow.

The nice thing about the Southern District of Florida is that there are so many laws written. With some proper research you can find some decisions determined by the court of appeals, and you can use beneficial case precedence to your advantage. I want to have the most on-point legal memorandum for my client, so when we go into the court for that hearing, I do everything I can with the law and the facts to get my client the best sentence possible.

Contact Miami and Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney Scott Saul about pursuing the best sentence possible for your federal case.