Designation as a Career Offender in Jacksonville Federal Court can significantly raise the guidelines of someone charged with a federal crime. In many instances, guidelines ranges can be raised by factors of five, and result in guidelines scores of 20 to 40 years higher than the defendant would otherwise face. Career Offenders must have at least two prior felonies. The instant offense must be for a crime of violence or a controlled substance offense. Prior felony convictions can be either federal or state convictions. It is irrelevant whether the defendant was sentenced to a prison term in the state or federal case.
Because of the Supreme Court's 2005 decision in Booker the federal guidelines are advisory to the sentencing court and are no longer binding. Therefore, it is important to work with attorneys who are experienced in federal sentencing in your case. The courts are seeing a powerful trend, post Booker, toward the easing of the draconian nature of the sentencing guidelines. Creative arguments have finally begun to turn the tide.
At Arnold Law Firm, we are skilled at negotiating many below-guidelines sentences for clients who ended their case with a guilty plea. Although we have expansive trial experience, the great majority of Jacksonville federal criminal cases end in a plea agreement with the government. Early negotiations to set the case up for a proper disposition are the key to any good settlement.