We don’t actually get asked this question a lot. And not because we don’t handle our fair share of federal cases. Actually, it’s probably because most people don’t even know what federal sentencing guidelines are, or what role they would play in a criminal case. So in the interest of helping our readers be better prepared for whatever the future may hold, here’s a quick breakdown of what the federal sentencing guidelines are, and how they could impact your case.
What exactly is a federal sentencing guideline?
A ‘federal sentencing guideline’ is a rule that establishes uniform sentencing guideline for all people convicted of crimes in federal courts across the nation. A federal sentencing guideline uses lots of factors to determine what kind of sentence someone gets. Two important factors in those federal sentencing guidelines are
- The conduct associated with the offense, and
- The defendant’s criminal history
There are many more factors that are used in the federal system. Our state of Michigan guideIines are not nearly as complex as the federal guidelines. In addition, different federal crimes are divided into categories, called classes, that determine how serious they are. For example:
- Class “E” felonies are the least serious and carry penalties of up to three years in prison.
- Class “D” through “B” felonies are increasingly serious and carry maximum prison terms from 6 years to 25 years.
- Class “A” felonies are the most serious, and can earn you up to life without parole.
How are federal sentencing guidelines applied?
Federal sentencing guidelines assign a base level of “seriousness” to every crime. There are a total of 43 levels of seriousness for different offenses, with lower numbers being assigned to less serious offenses, and higher numbers assigned to the more serious crimes.
The base level is like a starting point for a judge. For example, kidnapping has a base level of 32. Now, once a judge knows what base level a crime is assigned to, they can adjust the sentence up or down from there, based on a large number of factors like criminal history (which would increase the sentence) and remorse (which could reduce the sentence). These are called adjustments. It’s also important to keep in mind that these are advisory guidelines rather than mandatory requirements the judge must follow.
How would this affect your Michigan criminal case?
If you were being prosecuted by a county prosecutor in Michigan, like the Ingham County prosecutor, or the Kent County prosecutor, it wouldn’t have any bearing on your case at all. But if you’re facing charges in a federal court here in Michigan, then these sentencing guidelines would be used to establish how long you’ll end up behind bars in a federal prison, assuming you’re convicted of a crime.
So don’t leave your case to chance – call The Kronzek Firm right now at 866 766 5245 and talk to one of our experienced sex crime defense attorneys! After all, the best way to avoid being sent to a federal prison, is to avoid being convicted of a crime in federal court. And the best way to do that is to get the best attorney you can find (who’s licensed to practice law in a federal court) and hire them immediately. You can reach our top criminal defense attorneys by calling 1 866 7NoJail.