Violate a criminal statute in Alabama, and you can be charged under state or federal law. There are similarities in trying a case, whether state or federal law. Both involve a jury trial, evidence, depositions, and negotiating with the prosecutor for a reduced sentence. Proving the case beyond a reasonable doubt will be the prosecutor’s standard in both venues.
Federal sentencing is generally much harsher than sentencing for state charges. Meeting with an experienced federal criminal lawyer will put you in the best position to understand what federal charges you may face and whether your defense attorney can reach a plea agreement with the prosecutor to minimize your exposure to more serious federal charges.
Criminal Defense Attorney Jason Darley of Darley Law has decades of experience defending those charged with state and federal crimes. His practice is limited to advocating for the person accused of the crime, known as the defendant.
In the case of a federal charge, you must have an experienced federal criminal lawyer who can advocate for a reduced or no sentence before a federal judge. Mr Darley understands the mandatory-minimum penalties and the sentencing guidelines. In addition, he applies existing case law in arguing your case before the judge.
Federal Prison Sentencing
The federal judge has broad discretion in imposing a different sentence, even for the same crime. Federal judges follow the United States Sentencing Guidelines, established in 1987, to determine sentencing policies and practices for the federal criminal justice system. Sentencing guidelines establish a range and any reasonable reason for departing from the guidelines to consider suitable behavior adjustments.
The judge will work within a guideline range for sentencing, but the defendant’s criminal history can play a role in mitigating the sentence. The federal judge will consider previous offenses in determining how much time the defendant spends in prison.
Your experienced Alabama federal crime attorney understands that the First Step Act, approved by Congress in 2019, reduces a third-time federal drug offense from a mandatory life sentence to a 25-year minimum.
It also discards any low-level state drug crimes from consideration in federal sentencing.
Reducing Your Federal Sentence
Federal sentencing guidelines are advisory, but generally, you will serve 85% of your sentence. Your experienced federal criminal defense attorney will present the conditions of your case that will allow the judge to depart from the federal guidelines.
A convincing argument could result in a downgrade in the amount of time one spends in federal prison, including:
- A defendant’s admission of responsibility
- If the defendant played a minor role in the crime
- If the defendant helped federal authorities with their case
- If the defendant has military service or a history of community contributions
- If the defendant took steps to enter rehabilitation
- If the judge considers the defendant’s mental, medical, or physical condition
The defendant’s history will have an impact on the amount of time a federal sentencing judge will consider before deviating from the guidelines.
When there are constitutional violations, a federal sentence can be vacated, set aside, or corrected. This may include the defendant’s community efforts, his drug and alcohol abuse issues, and the defendant’s traumatic past. It is even possible for a variance to result in probation as an alternative to prison time.
A two-level offense reduction would be a standard departure from federal criminal sentencing if the defendant played a minor role in the crime.
Your Alabama Federal Crimes Defense Attorney
Once he reviews your case, Criminal Defense Attorney Jason Darley will use his expertise to provide a convincing argument on your behalf to advocate for a departure from the federal sentencing guidelines for your specific crime.
It is best to call the law office of criminal defense attorney Jason Darley in the early stages of your case to have the best opportunity for a favorable outcome. If you have been charged with a crime or suspect you are under investigation, Jason Darley can be reached at his Mobile office at (251) 441-7772 to arrange a complimentary consultation.
Mr. Darley’s advice is essential in determining the extent of cooperation with the federal government and your entry into plea negotiations with the United States Attorney to try and minimize your potential sentence. The earlier you call, the better your chances of developing a promising defense strategy.
U.S. Sentencing Commission