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What Are The Potential Penalties For Federal Crimes?


Federal criminal sentences are governed by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. The federal sentencing guidelines are the complex system that determines the sentencing ranges for particular offenses in the federal system. The sentencing guidelines are very complicated, but generally speaking, there’s a sentencing grid, or table, which is used to calculate the sentencing range. Across the top there is a criminal history category, and on the vertical axis there are offense levels. These offense levels are frequently referred to as points, and every federal criminal offense has a certain number of points. Points are also added or subtracted for either aggravating or mitigating factors, respectively.

Once the number of points has been calculated, the criminal history category is determined. The criminal history category basically just indicates whether you have zero to one prior offenses, or if you have multiple offenses. There are six different categories for the criminal history. Once you have the offense level and the criminal history category, you use this grid to determine the sentencing guideline. This is an advisory or suggested sentence for imprisonment. A judge may deviate from that guideline and give either a higher or lower sentence for either aggravating or mitigating circumstances, respectively.

One other thing to note is that based on this point system, most federal crimes are not eligible for probation.

Why Is It Important To Retain An Experienced Attorney For A Federal Criminal Case?

It’s important because the federal system is much different than the state courts, and obviously, it’s an advantage to have a federal criminal lawyer that’s familiar with the procedures and systems. But probably the most important reason is that the attorney needs to fully understand the sentencing guidelines. It’s extremely complicated and is not the type of thing that a lawyer can pick up and learn as a quick read. It covers multiple volumes of books and is very detailed. Someone who is not familiar with working with it is going to struggle to understand it. But I’ve worked with it many, many times, and I’m familiar with it. I use my familiarity and experience with the guidelines to my client’s advantage in achieving shorter and more lenient sentences.

Who Handles Investigation And Prosecution Of State Crimes?

State crimes are investigated and charged by state police and agencies, which would include the Illinois State Police, county sheriffs’ departments, as well as local law enforcement.

What Are The Common Types Of State Crimes That You Handle?

I’ve handled virtually every state criminal charge. I’ve represented people in court for offenses, ranging from speeding tickets to murder and everything in between. So guns, drugs, violent crimes, white collar crimes, and sex offenses, DUIs: you name it, and I’ve probably dealt with it.

What Are The Potential Penalties For State Crimes?

Illinois doesn’t have sentencing guidelines like in the federal system. In Illinois misdemeanor and federal charges are categorized. Misdemeanors use letters, with a class C being the least serious misdemeanor and a class A misdemeanor as the most serious, with up to 364 days in jail. Felonies are categorized using numbers, with a class 4 felony as the least serious offense, carrying one to three years in prison, up to a class 1. A class 1 felony carries from four to 15 years in prison. Above the class 1 level is class X. For a class X felony, probation is not allowed, and it carries a mandatory minimum of six up to 30 years in prison. Illinois also has what’s called a super class X, which would double that sentence for a minimum of 12 up to 60 years and no probation. And for class X and above super class X is murder, which is a mandatory minimum 20 years up to life in prison.

For more information on Penalties For Federal Crimes, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (815) 290-9170 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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