Federal offenses differ dramatically from state offenses. The process is much more complex, and the penalties are often more severe. This is because Congress created "Federal Sentencing Guidelines" that often restrict independent judicial discretion by the United States Federal Judges.
These federal sentencing guidelines take into account both the seriousness of the offense and the defendant's criminal history. There are 43 offense levels. The higher the level, the higher the punishment.
Adjustments can be taken to increase or decrease offense level. The federal sentencing guidelines classify each defendant to one of six categories. One being the least serious and six being the most, meaning defendants have had quite a few run-ins with the law and the 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.
Understanding these guidelines can be difficult and a lot to process. Let the lawyers at Barfoot & Schoettker help you make things clear.
To protect your rights, you will need a lawyer who is experienced in criminal defense like the ones at Barfoot & Schoettker who have handled many cases at the federal level. Early intervention is critical so do not wait until you are charged to seek representation. If you have been subpoenaed or believe you are the target of an investigation, it is crucial to obtain representation as soon as possible.
Contact us for a free consultation with one of our attorneys who is ready to fight for you. Call (334) 834-3444.