Important Facts to Consider When Charged with a Federal Crime
A federal crime is nothing to take lightly. The penalties are harsh, the process in court is different, and it requires expert legal representation. While you can be the most well-educated defendant, you still should have a defense attorney representing you, if you are arrested or charged with a federal offense.
Things to Know About Federal Charges
If you have been charged in a federal criminal case, then you will need to consider the following:
- You could receive probation. If you are convicted of a federal crime, then you could still receive probation. Probation simply means that your term of imprisonment is suspended. You will have restrictive conditions, and you must report to a probation officer for the duration of your probation period. Except in minor fraud cases, most federal defendants will never experience probation.
- You could be held in federal custody. While your initial arrest and imprisonment may have started in a state court, it is likely that you will be transferred into federal custody. In this instance, you are still held in the county jail or state prison – unless you are convicted.
- Designation determines where you will go. If you are in federal custody, a federal institution will be designated for your sentence. This can take four to six weeks, and is decided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. During this time, you will remain in county jail.
- You could receive good time credits. Good time credit can be rewarded for as much as 54 days. This is time that is subtracted from your total sentence. The credit is given for good behavior – and it is not a right. It is not computed until after you have completed one year in prison, or just before your release date.
- Case law will apply. There are books and cases that have discussed similar rights and situations as yours. The court could be influenced by recently published opinions of the United States Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
- Federal sentencing guidelines will apply. The district judge will determine your sentence based on the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual. This book is based on a points system. You will receive points for the seriousness of the offense, and your role in that offense. Points can be subtracted if you are a minor; your criminal history is also considered as part of the guidelines.
- There are minimum mandatory punishments. Federal law is strict – if you are convicted of a federal offense, then you could face a mandatory minimum sentence. These will apply even if the Federal Sentencing Guidelines prove to give you less years in prison. Typically, mandatory minimums are used in drug and firearm cases.
Have You Been Arrested? Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a crime or you are being threatened with a federal offense, then you need an attorney by your side. Contact the team at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices today for a free case evaluation. We can help you with your federal defense, and hopefully help you avoid the harsh penalties associated with federal convictions. Schedule your consultation now by calling 505-375-4767 or filling out our online contact form with your legal questions.