Clients frequently ask me to assess their case in order to determine whether they will go to jail or not. And why wouldn’t they? No one wants to go to jail, and facing potential jail time is probably the number one stress factor associated with being charged with a federal crime.
A client deserves on honest assessment of these factors. However, an honest assessment may not be the most popular assessment, and may not be what the client wants to hear. The reality is that no one wants to go to jail – however, a lawyer should not tell you that just so that you hire them.
Any federal criminal defense attorney with experience will be able to review the United States Sentencing Guidelines with you and give you an advisory range based upon the conduct alleged in your case, together with your criminal history (if any). However, that is only one factor that judges consider when sentencing a criminal defendant. Several other factors come into play pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) that judges must consider before imposing sentence on a defendant. These factors include considering the nature of the crime and the history and characteristics of the defendant, to name two. Moreover, attorneys who practice federal criminal regularly will be able to size up your case with cases they have had in the past. While certainly not dispositive of what your sentence will ultimately be, it can provide some helpful guideposts.
Certainly a second attorney opinion is worthy of anyone facing a federal criminal matter, and one you should obtain prior to choosing the lawyer who will ultimately represent you. But be careful of the federal defense attorneys who guarantee you no jail time, outright dismissals, acquittals at trial, or ones who guarantee you ANY outcome at all for that matter.
You deserve a fair and honest assessment of your charges and potential penalties. You need this honest assessment in order to make some very important decisions such as whether to go to trial.
Lorraine Gauli-Rufo is an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who practices regularly in the Federal Courts in New Jersey and New York, with offices conveniently located in Verona, New Jersey (on the boarder of Montclair and Cedar Grove) and New York City.
Call her for a confidential consultation regarding your matter.
(973) 239-4300 (New Jersey)
(646) 779-2746 (New York)