Getting your federal sentence reduced starts with hiring the right criminal defense attorney. An experienced lawyer can identify legal ways to reduce your sentence and argue them in court.
Judges sometimes reduce sentences under the Sentencing Guidelines. They can do so on their own or on a motion. The rules also allow for a departure based on mitigating circumstances. Visit website.
Representation in Court
During the course of your case, your attorney can help you take advantage of opportunities to reduce your sentence. This may include entering a guilty plea early, sparing limited government personnel and resources from having to fully litigate your case and thereby getting you a lighter sentence.
In addition, your lawyer can raise mitigating factors to help you qualify for compassionate release. This is a program that allows extremely elderly and terminally ill inmates to be released from prison early so they can spend their last days outside of prison.
This amendment adopts a suggestion of the Federal Court Study Committee that the court should have the inherent authority to correct an illegal sentence sua sponte at any time. This subdivision also clarifies that the 120-day period for reducing a sentence upon revocation of probation does not begin to run until the court enters its order or judgment on the application. This is intended to prevent confusion with respect to the timing of such reductions in the three situations described in this section.
One of the most common ways to get a federal sentence reduced is by cooperating with government investigators and prosecutors. If an inmate is able to provide substantial information about criminal activity they are involved in, the government may be able to reduce their own prison sentence by filing a 5K1.1 motion at sentencing.
This usually happens as part of a plea agreement, where the person agrees to cooperate with the Government in exchange for their being considered for a reduction in their sentence under 5K1.1. The result, if successful, is roughly a 15% reduction in the length of the sentence imposed by the Judge.
Having an experienced attorney on your side is vital in this situation, since the prosecutor has sole discretion as to whether or not they will file a 5K1.1 reduction motion. A good lawyer will make every effort to convince the prosecutor that the inmate’s cooperation is worthy of a reduction under either 5K1.1 or Rule 35.
When you’re convicted of a federal crime, the judge will hold a sentencing hearing to determine your sentence. This will be a chance for both the prosecution and defense to argue why you should get a particular punishment. Mitigating circumstances like a lack of criminal record or the impact on your victims can be key factors to getting a lighter penalty.
At the sentencing hearing, the prosecutor will start by making their recommendation to the judge. They’ll likely want the maximum possible penalty for your crime. After that, the defense lawyer will present their argument and evidence to try and convince the judge to reduce your sentence.
One group of defendants who might be eligible for a sentence reduction is those already serving prison time. They would have to be both sentenced prior to November 1, 2010 and have a sentence that was longer than the range recommended by the new crack Guidelines.
After a conviction you can still fight for a more favorable outcome. There are several types of post conviction relief available, including a petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging violation of your constitutional rights. Typically, these motions are based on new evidence such as DNA test results or witness testimony.
Defendants can also file a motion for post-conviction relief to argue that there was some constitutional violation not raised on appeal or some other irregularity in the trial/plea process. If successful, this can result in reversal of your conviction or a new trial.
Depending on the situation, the court may order a new sentencing hearing, a retrial or a reduction in your sentence. It is important that you have a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to guide you through the process. A successful defense will often reduce your sentence or help you get out of prison early. A successful defense can also help you avoid a federal crime charge in the future.