Federal Agencies and Federal Criminal Sentencing

Federal Agencies

There are many Federal agencies that conduct investigations regarding the commission of Federal crimes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) and United States Postal Service (“USPS”) are just a few of the myriad agencies that investigate activities that can lead to Federal indictments.

If you are being investigated by one of these agencies, you simply MUST hire an experienced attorney to protect your Constitutional rights and defend you if you are ultimately charged with a Federal offense. The Law Office of Drew Prisner is here to help you.

Sentencing Guidelines

Unlike the various State systems, the Federal system utilizes “Sentencing Guidelines” (“SG”) to determine the prison sentence of a person convicted of a Federal crime. The SG are advisory, meaning that a Federal judge can deviate from them to an extent, but most Federal judges use the SG to determine how long a person will spend in prison.

The SG take into account a person’s criminal history (if any), the level of the offense (how “serious” it is), and any additional “enhancements” that can be added to the offense’s “base” at the time of sentencing. (Examples of such “enhancements” are: Were “sophisticated means” used during the commission of the offense?; Or…was there “Substantial Financial Hardship” to a victim as a result of the commission of the offense?)

The SG give a Federal judge a range within which to sentence the convicted person, and these ranges can be quite severe. Federal sentences consist of the number of months that the person will have to serve in Federal prison, i.e., 120 months (10 years). In addition to the severity of the SG, some Federal offenses have mandatory minimums that under Federal law the judge MUST assess. As a result, even if the person charged with a Federal offense is otherwise a “good person,” he/she will have to spend at least the mandatory minimum number of months in Federal prison for that conviction.


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