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Federal Sentencing Guidelines

Federal charges are in a different league from Colorado state court matters threatening devastating, life-altering consequences for those accused of a federal crime. The simple fact is that most federal criminal charges result in sentences to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In determining an appropriate sentence, the federal district court must begin with a correct calculation of the sentence as set forth in the federal sentencing guidelines. Gall v. United States, 128 S.Ct. 586, 595, 76 USLW 4009 (2007). The guidelines are advisory and the court, while not bound by them, must consult the guidelines and give serious consideration to the extent of any departure from them. United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005); Gall, 128 S.Ct. at 594.

Other Sentencing Considerations

The guidelines, while a starting point, are not the only consideration for the district court when approaching sentencing. The sentencing court must also consider the factors set out in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) in deciding upon an appropriate sentence. United States v. Munoz-Nava, 524 F.3d 1137, 1146 (10th Cir. 2008). The decision to impose a sentence outside the advisory sentencing guideline range may be based on factors disfavored by the guidelines and on factors already taken into account by the guidelines. Munoz-Nava, 524 F.3d at 1148 (disfavored factors); United States v. Smart, 518 F.3d 800, 808 (10th Cir. 2008) (factors already taken into account).

What Factors Will Judges Take Into Account?

In federal sentencing the court must also apply the factors set out in 18 U.S.C. §3553(a) in deciding upon an appropriate sentence. United States v. Munoz-Nava, 524 F.3d 1137, 1146 (10th Cir. 2008). The §3553(a) factors to be taken into account are:

(a) Nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant

(b) The need for the sentence imposed to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law and to provide just punishment for the offense

(c) The need for deterrence

(d) The need to protect the public

(e) The need to provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training, medical care or other correctional treatment in the most effective manner

(f) The kinds of sentences available

(g) The sentencing guidelines range

(h) Pertinent policy statements of the Sentencing Commission

(i) The need to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities

(j) The need to provide restitution to any victims of the offense

The very nature of the charge and the complexity of federal laws mean that federal sentencing guidelines will be much more complex than state sentencing. Our clients rely on us for our knowledge, relationships with federal prosecutors and judges, skill and preparation in handling even the most serious, difficult and complex criminal defense.

Experience You Can Rely On

At Jurdem, LLC, our Boulder federal criminal defense attorneys regularly defend clients charged with federal crimes at the U.S. District Court in Denver. We understand the stress and frustration most individuals feel when fighting through a federal criminal case. It is our goal to take as much of the burden off your shoulders as possible while fighting toward the best possible resolution to your case. We take great care to explain the sentencing guidelines in such a way to ensure that you fully understand how they apply in your specific situation.

Contact Us

For legal counsel highly experienced in federal court matters that can help you gain a better understanding of the federal sentencing guidelines, turn to Jurdem, LLC, in Boulder. Call 303-800-3509 or toll free at 877-761-7852 or simply contact us online for a free initial consultation with one of our top criminal defense lawyers. We accept major credit cards for our clients’ convenience.

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