Being convicted of a federal crime can be scary, especially when it’s the first time you’ve been charged and aren’t sure what to expect. Whether you’ve been convicted of fraud, conspiracy, drug charges, or a host of other crimes, you’ll want to know how much of a federal sentence must be served.
Is there such a thing as federal prison sentence reduction? These are common questions and most of them are easily answered, although there are always exceptions to the rule.
After being charged with the crime, your case either went to trial or you pled guilty. Now it’s time for the sentencing. This part of the legal process is where federal sentence reduction will take place, if possible. Once you’ve been sentenced, it’s difficult to reverse. Make sure you have the right lawyer defending you and fighting for the least amount of time in prison.
Can a Federal Prison Sentence be Reduced?
Federal prison sentences being reduced isn’t uncommon and is sometimes based largely on cooperation with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). A person can cooperate in many ways, starting with being courteous and answering questions honestly.
The FBI may ask you to provide them with information about your case, testimony as to what really occurred, or about other criminal activity. In rare cases, the FBI may ask for you to become a long-term informant if they believe you have knowledge of a specific criminal organization.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines
In what other ways can a prison sentence be reduced? In addition to cooperation, there are over 100 provisions to federal sentencing guidelines that can get your prison sentence reduced, but they won’t all be applicable to your case.
The most common provisions are when the defendant takes responsibility for what they have done if they had a mitigating role in the crime (when others were involved), and other departure provisions such as the age of the defendant, extenuating family circumstances, mental health issues, or other unique challenges of the defendant.
How Much of a Federal Sentence Must Be Served?
There is no specific time frame that must be served unless the crime has a minimum mandatory sentence. For example, if you’ve been caught transporting or distributing more than 500 grams of cocaine, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years if it’s your first time being convicted of this crime. For greater amounts of illegal drugs, such as transporting or distributing more than 1 kilogram of heroin, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. If you find yourself in this situation, contact a drug trafficking attorney in Houston for further help.
If convicted a second time, these prison sentences often double. These minimums won’t be reduced by a judge unless the defendant meets very specific first-time, non-violent offender guidelines. That being said, appealing a federal drug conviction may be possible depending on your unique case.
In some cases, when a defendant does as the courts ask, there could be a reduction of as much as 50 percent of the federal jail time. This is strictly up to the judge as there are no set formulas in place. Most judges will consider many factors, so cooperation is imperative. It’s also crucial to not lie because if you’re caught, the judge will not be likely to reduce your sentence and may even consider the maximum prison sentence in your case.
How to Get a Federal Sentence Reduced
Federal sentence reduction for good behavior and cooperation are only one way to get your sentence reduced. The extent of a federal prison sentence that must be served is largely up to the judge handling your case.
What’s the best way to leverage federal sentence reduction programs to your benefit? Hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows the law and can help identify legal ways to reduce your sentence. With over 100 federal sentencing guidelines to cover, a knowledgeable lawyer may find one or more that apply to your case and advocate for you in court. Learning how to get a sentence reduced when you’re facing federal prison time isn’t easy, but it starts with hiring the best criminal defense lawyer for the job.
When looking for a lawyer, you need to consider their experience, knowledge, and history of getting reduced federal sentences. You don’t want to hire someone who is just getting started and may not understand all the nuances of the law.
Your life is in your hands when it comes to reducing a long criminal sentence. Choose wisely when you select a federal criminal defense lawyer.
Contact the Law Offices of Kretzer and Volberding P.C. today to schedule a consultation.