Articles Posted in Federal criminal defense

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Sentencing in federal criminal case is largely a product of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual.  For those that may not know, the Guidelines were established by Congress in the 1980s in an effort to bring uniformity and consistency to federal criminal cases.  The Guidelines established, among other things,  mandatory minimum sentences for many drug conspiracy cases.

In 1994, Congress passed the “Safety Valve” statute, 18 U.S.C section 3553(f)The safety valve provision of Title 18 authorizes Courts to impose sentences below the statutory minimum if the defendant meets certain requirements in cases under section 21 USC 841, 844, 846, 960 or 963.

(1) the defendant does not have more than 1 criminal history point, as determined under the sentencing guidelines;
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In most Federal Criminal cases, if a person is convicted, the sentence will be determined by using the United States Sentencing Guidelines.  The Guidelines were created by the U.S. Congress in the 1980s.  The Guidelines were created with the goal of achieving uniformity in Federal criminal sentences across the United States.

In other words, if you are convicted and sentenced for participating in a Federal drug conspiracy case in the Eastern District of Texas, your sentence should be substantially like that of a similarly situated person in another part of the country.

The Guidelines are formulaic and they operate to calcuate a prison term using several criteria.  Broadly speaking, these can be broken down into several categories.

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A Federal criminal case is very different than a state criminal case.  There exists a separate set of laws and processes that must be understood and carefully considered.