Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Federal Sentencing

Sentencing in the Federal Courts is very different from State Court. In Federal Court, if convicted, you receive a level for your offense committed. That level may be a level 34 for instance. If you accept responsibility for your actions, the Court will often grant a two or three level decrease to a level 31. This may save you a significant amount of time in prison. However, there are also ways that you can increase your levels, for instance, lying to the Court.

There are other ways levels can increase or decrease. If your criminal history shows a State conviction for Illegal use of a motor vehicle, you may receive an increase in your levels because of a crime of violence. However, tampering with a motor vehicle is not considered a crime of violence. This will often depend upon how the State defined the crime you may have been convicted of in State Court. Sometimes, the District Court may consider an act a crime of violence when really the act should not be.

In United States v. Kobyashi Jones, No. 06-2901 (E.D. Mo) (Unpublished)

Mr. Jones pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession and was sentenced
to 180 months based on the armed career criminal statute. One of his
priors was for the Missouri offense of Tampering (operating a vehicle
without owner's consent). Upon review by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court held that Tampering with a motor vehicle under Missouri law does not constitute a crime of violence. The sentence was vacated and remanded for a new sentence without considering a the level increase for a crime of violence criminal history.

This is an example why you must retain a lawyer to assist you in your criminal matters. Your lawyer's work does not end at the conviction. Sentencing is also an important part to have your attorney at. If you find yourself in need of a lawyer, call Patrick Flanagan for a free consultation.




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