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Federal cases often involve harsher punishments for similar crimes charged in state court. The reason is that your members of Congress created “Federal Sentencing Guidelines.”

These Federal Sentencing Guidelines often restrict independent judicial discretion by United States Federal Judges. These Federal Sentencing Guidelines take into account both the seriousness of the offense and the defendants criminal history. There are 43 offense levels. The higher the level, the higher the punishment.

Adjustments can be done to increase or decrease the offense level. For examples, if the defendant had a minimal role in the offense level, there could be an adjustment decrease. Similarly certain factors could increase the offense levels. There is also reduction for acceptance of responsibility.

The federal sentencing guidelines also classifies each defendant to one of six Criminal History Categories. Category one is the least serious criminal record and Criminal History Category six includes defendants who have had quite a few run ins with the law and court.

In addition, the United States Federal Court Judge may grant either the United States Attorney or defense attorney a departure upward or downward depending on whether there are aggravating or mitigating circumstances not adequately taken into consideration by the Sentencing Guidelines.

This system of varying offense levels and reductions can be difficult for clients to understand. Let the lawyers at Barfoot & Schoettker help you make things clear. We have handled numerous cases in federal court. Some have been resolved through trials and others by plea agreements with the United States Government. If you need a Federal Criminal Lawyer contact us today by phone or by submitting a free case evaluation electronically.

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