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Understanding the Differences between Federal and State Court – Manhattan Criminal Lawyer Greco Neyland, PC

Understanding the Differences between Federal and State Court

New York Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys

Some people charged with a criminal offense in New York do not initially pay close attention to whether the charges are state or federal. This is a huge mistake! Even if you have been prosecuted previously for a criminal offense under the state laws of New York, the federal system is far more complicated, so you need the legal representation of an experienced Federal criminal defense lawyer. When you face charges in Federal Court, you will find that the court process, sentencing terms and potential consequences of a conviction differ substantially from state court.

These differences make it imperative that you are represented by attorneys experienced in Federal Court. Jeff Greco and Dustan Neyland have the experience you need when you are charged with a federal criminal offense. When you are facing federal criminal charges, you face a dire situation, so the stress you are probably experiencing is justified. However, our experienced New York federal criminal lawyers can demystify the federal court system by explaining the process, potential sentencing and defense strategies. Our goal is to make the process understandable, which can help your develop a realistic view of what to expect. This knowledge can make the process less frightening.

Distinguishing Federal from State Court in New York

The fundamental differences between Federal Court and State Court make it essential that you are represented by a criminal defense attorney with extensive experience fighting charges in federal courts. The Assistant United States Attorneys who prosecute these cases are exceptionally skilled, and they have access to more extensive resources when it comes to investigating and litigating federal crimes. We have provided an overview of some of the ways that Federal Court differs from State Court.

No Parole in Federal Court

When you are convicted of a federal criminal offense, there is no option for parole, at least in the traditional sense. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1987 eliminated the option of parole for offenders sentenced after November 1, 1987. If you are convicted in Federal Court, you can receive probation, but this option is limited to a small number of cases. Unless you are one of these rare cases, you will serve your time in Federal Prison. While you can be released from the state penitentiary after serving a relatively small portion of your sentence, this option is unavailable in the federal system.

Calculation of Sentences in Federal Court

If the Assistant United States Attorney does not dismiss your case, your only options are to plead guilty or proceed to trial. Regardless of the option you select, the presiding Federal Judge will determine your punishment. The option to be sentenced by a jury is not available in Federal Court. The punishment imposed is governed by the United States Sentencing Guidelines (U.S.S.G.), which are often referred to simply as the “guidelines”.

The discretion of the Federal Judge is restricted by this rigid sentencing scheme, so you will be sentenced according to where you fall under this numerical calculation, which will be based on the charged offense, criminal record, relevant conduct, acceptance of responsibility and other factors. The underlying federal offense will be assigned a base level number of points under the guidelines. More serious offenses constitute more points; more points correspond to more years imposed in Federal Prison. From this base level number of points, the Federal Judge will evaluate the other relevant factors specified in the guidelines to adjust your sentence upward or downward.

Our federal criminal attorneys at Greco  Neyland carefully analyze the relevant facts and circumstances of your case, so we can calculate your potential sentencing exposure under the guidelines. This calculation is a necessary starting point in evaluating how to proceed in your federal case, but these calculations can be difficult for those not familiar with the guidelines. If you do not know where you fall on the guidelines, this is something you must determine immediately because you need to understand your potential sentence to make informed decisions about your case.

Speak to a Federal Criminal Attorney at Greco  Neyland Today!

We invite you to contact us, so we can determine where you fall under the guidelines and discuss potential defenses and options. At Greco Neyland PC, our lawyers offer a free consultation, so you should feel free to call us today at (914) 358-9146 or click here to schedule your free consultation.