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How Does Federal Sentencing Work?

How is Federal Sentencing different from State Sentencing?

Federal sentencing is akin to sentencing in state criminal matters.  Nonetheless, there are key differences between the two situations that make it important to work with an experienced federal attorney on your side. Federal investigators are well skilled in finding the information they require to bring a case against you.  By working with a lawyer on your team from the start, you can combat federal agent and U.S. attorney tactics, and you can defend your rights and freedom.

Sentencing in Federal Court

Once an individual is convicted in federal court, the judge is charged with the task of determining what the sentence will be. In a state court matter, there is a report that is the responsibility of the probate department.  State sentencing guidelines are weighed along with the specifics of the case to make a final sentencing determination. In a federal case, on the other hand, the United States Sentencing Commission puts out sentencing guidelines.  These guidelines are designed to work in addition to the minimum and maximum penalties set by Congress. The judge will additionally receive a presentence report which is similar to the probate court report given to a state judge. The presentence report is taken into account, along with victim statements, defendant statements, and statements from the attorneys on both sides of the matter.

Regardless of the unique details of your particular case, a good lawyer can help you through the development of your case and create a custom fitted approach to aim at the outcome you want. 

Appealing a Federal Court Sentence

In the event that you have been sentenced, or should you be at the stage of awaiting sentencing, you may be able to deploy your right to appeal. A federal district court decision can be appealed to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals.  In your appeal, you can challenge either the verdict in your matter, or the sentence you received. If you feel as though you were unjustly convicted, your federal attorney can help you fight back and possibly achieve improved case results. If you already have been heard at the Circuit Court level, you have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court.  For this to happen, they must give permission to hear your case.  In reality, it is extremely rare to get this permission and be heard at that level. Your lawyers will look over all of your options with you to help you figure out what the most advantageous course of action is in your case. 

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