Federal Sentencing: Does Your Case Warrant a Variance?

After the Supreme Court’s decision¬† in United States v. Booker, 543 U.S. 220 (2005), judges should now¬†engage in a three-step approach to federal sentencing: 1) the court should apply the sentencing guidelines to establish the sentencing guideline range; 2) the court should determine whether a departure is consistent with the guidelines; 3) the court should determine whether a variance (a sentence outside the advisory guideline system) is warranted. Federal Courts may grant a variance (impose a sentence outside the applicable guideline range) for a number of reasons including the defendant’s health issues, defendant’s family circumstances, policy disagreements with the guidelines, as well as several other factors.

The issues involved in federal sentencing are constantly evolving all across the country, as well as in our courts here in the 5th Ciruit. It is important that you consult an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer to represent you when dealing with federal sentencing issues.

Source: United States Sentencing Commission

Bill Barrett

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