FERTITTA & REYNAL LLP

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(713) 364-0007

FERTITTA & REYNAL LLP

There’s no way to know whether or not a plea bargain is good without first knowing all of the facts of the case.

Would Someone Face Harsher Consequences If They Are Convicted At Trial As Opposed To Pleading Guilty?

The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines are not mandatory but suggest that federal judges impose a trial penalty. The Guidelines achieve this by awarding a three-point reduction for acceptance of responsibility. For our purposes, all that means is that the sentence is reduced because the person came forward, admitted their conduct, and saved the government from spending resources on going to trial. So, at first glance, it would appear that the person who goes to trial and loses is going to get a longer sentence than the person who pleads guilty. However, we sometimes find that a trial is necessary to educate the judge as to the real facts of the case. If a client pleads guilty, then the only facts the judge is likely going to hear are those contained in law enforcement reports. On the other hand, if there is a trial, then there is a chance to contest those facts and to bring out a fair picture of what actually occurred. Sometimes it is worth foregoing the three-point reduction to achieve this goal.

What Is The Timeline For A Federal Criminal Case That Goes To Trial?

After the defendant is charged, by criminal complaint or an indictment, there’s the discovery period, where the government is obligated to turn over to the defense any witness statements and the evidence that they intend to use at trial. Then there may be some motions practice regarding the admissibility of evidence, the sufficiency of the indictment, and the discovery turned over. This is followed by the trial. We’ve handled federal cases that took as little as 10 months and others that took as long as five years. How long a case take is subject to a variety of factors, including the complexity of the case, the volume of discovery, and the court’s docket of cases.

When Does Sentencing Take Place In A Federal Criminal Case?

After a conviction, the judge will usually reset the case for 30 to 60 days to allow for the preparation of a pre-sentence report (PSR). This is a report that’s prepared by U.S. Probation, which is a division of the court system. The report will lay out the history and characteristics of the defendant, the circumstances of the crime, and a preliminary or suggested guidelines calculation. The PSR is then provided to both the defense and the prosecution. Generally, the prosecution cooperates very closely with U.S. Probation in writing the initial report. Both sides will have an opportunity to object to any issues raised in the PSR. Objections that aren’t resolved by the probation department are then submitted to the judge. Approximately 30 to 90 days after conviction, the judge hears from both sides and pronounces the sentence.

Will I Be Released Pending Sentencing In A Federal Case Or Will I Remain In Custody?

Whether a person will be released or remain in custody after being convicted will depend on a variety of factors. Before someone is found guilty or pleads guilty, there is a presumption in favor of that person remaining on bond. After a person has been found guilty or pleads guilty, the presumption shifts to the person being in jail. Practically, however, if someone pleads guilty and has been on bond, then the overwhelming likelihood is that they will be allowed to remain on bond pending sentencing.

What Is The Pre-Sentence Report In A Federal Criminal Case? How Does It Impact The Case?

The pre-sentence report (PSR) is prepared by U.S. Probation, which is a division of the court system that does not work for the prosecutors or for the defense. Instead, they work for the judge. The Probation Officer will meet and interview the defendant, review all the police reports, and write a report. The report will contain the history and characteristics of the defendant, the circumstances of the offense, and a suggested guidelines calculation. After the report has been prepared, both sides will have a chance to object to it, and the judge will resolve any disputed objections.

For more information on Plea Bargains In A Federal Criminal Case, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (713) 364-0007 today.

FERTITTA & REYNAL

Call Now To Speak With An Attorney
(713) 364-0007