Entering a guilty plea or being convicted at a federal trial is nowhere near the end of the road. Rather, typically a few months after either of those events, a federal judge will sentence you. This is the most crucial stage in the process, and you must have by your side a competent and persuasive criminal defense attorney to handle your sentencing.
When entering a guilty plea, it is highly important that your federal defense attorney bargain in a way that limits your enhancements and lowers your guidelines to set the stage for successful sentencing. This may include convincing a prosecutor that certain enhancements do not apply, that certain convictions do not count towards a criminal history calculation, or that only a specific, less severe count of the indictment should cover the plea. At the time of your plea, or after a trial, your federal defense attorney and government prosecutor will generally come to terms regarding your potential guidelines, which are advisory for a federal judge. These initial steps serve a major purpose: to set you up for the lowest possible prison term and an early release, or even to create the possibility of receiving a probationary sentence.
A presentence investigation report (PSR) will also be conducted. This, too, requires the assistance of a seasoned defense attorney to assure that you are properly prepared for this crucial interview, which will lead to a report that is given great weight by federal judges.
Finally, a sentencing package will include voluminous mitigation material, from facts about your role in the matter, to character letters, to certain medical documentation, all of which pave the way for the court to depart downward or vary from the advisory guidelines.
At a federal sentencing hearing, your defense attorney will present arguments as to just why a federal judge should sentence an individual to probation only, or a below-guidelines sentence. When it comes to this stage, certain arguments and logic stand up to the test of time with federal judges, while others will not only be unpersuasive, but may serve to inflame the court and the government, leading to an unsuccessful hearing and perhaps even a harsher penalty than what the judge initially had in mind. Knowing this fine line difference could mean sparing you from additional days, months, and even years off your sentence. It is critical, therefore, that you hire an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who has dealt with complex sentencing and who has achieved lower prison terms and probationary sentences for individuals at this final stage.
If you are facing federal sentencing, it is imperative that you hire a vigorous and meticulous defense attorney in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Staten Island to craft a convincing sentencing submission and make persuasive arguments to win over a federal court judge determining your fate. Doing so could lower your prison term significantly or even result in a probation-only sentence.